Over the past five decades Martin Carthy has been one of the most persistent and dedicated practitioners of English traditional music. He has been an essential figure in most of the significant developments in folk music during that time. To chronicle his career is to discuss the rich and diverse history of the English folk song revival since the early 1960s. His early work was an inspiration ... Read more in Amazon's Martin Carthy Store
Landfall is the first album to be credited to just Martin Carthy since his debut album. This is a great album and it stands out above the previous albums for its uniqueness. Martin had recorded five albums with Dave Swarbrick and their last album had been "Prince Heathen" before the pair split up and went their separate ways. Martin joined folk rock group Steeleye Span and Dave joined Fairport Convention.
Martin Carthy made this album in the year he left Steeleye Span. This album has an outstanding line up of tracks. The album is another collection of English and British Traditional Folk songs. There is obviously a lot of thought that has gone into the song selections and the arrangements. There are ten tracks in total and seven are from Tradition and three from credited songwriters. The first track is a "transportation" song from the nineteenth century. The second is a tune by Martin with a traditional set of words. The third track "O`er the hills" is the familiar "over the hills and far away" song from the 17th Century. Then we get Martin singing without guitar, no overdubs, no vocal gymnastics and no syncopation on "The Cruel Mother" Track five is "cold, haily, windy night" with Martin performing with guitar and offering a more acoustic version of this song that he recorded in the line up of Steeleye Span on their album "Please to See the King". In contrast to the richly resonating sound on that album, here everything is stripped down without any reverb. Later he would record it again with the group "The Imagined Village", returning to a complex rhythm once more. On that song Steeleye Span had tried to convey regional accent, (like they did with most songs) But on this album Landfall, every song is sung with the southern English accent that is natural to Martin "His name is Andrew", track six, is by David Ackles. Then the bold Poachers is another "transportation" song from nineteenth century Sussex. Martin performs without the guitar again on "Dust to Dust" by John Kirkpatrick and track nine, "The Broomfield Hill" is another Traditional set of words with a tune by Martin. The album ends with "January Man" a song by Dave Goulder. Once again Martin sings without instruments and it is a lovely song to end the album.
The wide experience of Martin Carthy, even up to this point in 1971 shows up on this album in terms of both the wonderful guitar work and vocals, and also in style and originality. This lovely album came at a strong point during the folk revival. Martin Carthy shows his ability to give prime importance to the words he is singing. His phrasing helps to push the lyrics forward to tell their traditional story. And this is never in conflict with the rhythm of the guitar. He has a unique ability to complement his own voice with his guitar. He has become a champion of English traditional folk songs and this album is a fantastic example of the richness and beauty in our musical heritage. The performance is magical and professional. And the sound is clear and full-bodied. And there is a wonderful simplicity in the over all sound that seems like a perfect way to interpret these songs. We have the purity of the voice that delivers the words and on some tracks, to add colour we get this very interesting guitar playing as well.
"Landfall" is a great acoustic folk album with some strong songs and tunes. It is an important album in the history of recordings of English Traditional Folk music and is highly recommended.Read more ›
Martin Carthy is the supreme archaeologist of our musical heritage. Accompanied only by his guitar, and not even that on three of these tracks, he delivers traditional songs as compellingly as a fireside storyteller. 1971's 'Landfall' is one of his more melancholy collections, beginning with the wry farewell of a convict about to be transported. The tale of 'Brown Adam' is more upbeat and is a fine example of Carthy's hypnotic playing. 'O'er The Hills' poignantly evokes the longing for home of a soldier abroad. 'Cruel Mother', the most chilling track on the album, features an unaccompanied vocal. It's a reminder of the terrible things the human race is capable of. 'Cold Haily Windy Night', another tale of a troubled soldier, sees Carthy on top form with his guitar again.
'His Name Is Andrew' is the first of three modern songs. It was written by David Ackles, an American with a flair for dramatic and generally melancholy contemporary folk tales. It's beauty is in its bleakness, the title character having his faith undermined to the extent that he endures a living death. Perhaps it should have been left until last as it's a difficult track to follow. 'The Bold Poachers' though is taut and grim, telling of the consequences of a conflict between poachers and gamekeepers. 'Dust To Dust' was written by Carthy's sometime collaborator, John Kirkpatrick, and is another unaccompanied vocal track. The singer here is the voice of a gravedigger who makes light of his varied 'clients' - what will be will be. The lyric to the love song 'The Broomfield Hill' has a wonderfully slick rhythm which Carthy matches with some deft guitar. 'The January Man', which closes the album, is another modern song performed unaccompanied. Each line describes life in terms of a different month and its weather, progressing toward the old age of December before returning to the original portent of January.
It's a shame that so many people who profess to love popular music with 'meaning' blind themselves to traditional music, which, handed down over centuries has evolved into something far richer than any modern artist (and I include Dylan) can provide. Folk's dour finger-in-the-ear image doesn't help, but listening to albums like 'Landfall' can only help.Read more ›