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15 Reviews
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faultless, astounding
I seem to be in a minority here, perhaps because I heard Chinatown before Blue Horse, but in my humble opinion Blue Horse is a sweet and fetching debut album wheareas Chinatown is mesmerising, beautiful, and damn near faultless. I was completely captivated from the end of the first line of the first song (in comparison, my reaction to Littlest Birds on Blue Horse was...
Published on 27 Nov 2004 by D. Smith

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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing second album
After their stunning 1999 debut album Blue Horse, the Be Good Tanyas’ second release came as a big disappointment. The multi-talented neo-trad instrumentalists haven’t lost their surefingered country picking style and the close harmony singing is as sweet as ever but they have no new material to play with and wander through a ragbag of tracks without any...
Published on 19 May 2003 by Graham Timmins


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Faultless, astounding, 27 Nov 2004
By 
D. Smith "dave_smith21" (Saffron Walden, Essex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
I seem to be in a minority here, perhaps because I heard Chinatown before Blue Horse, but in my humble opinion Blue Horse is a sweet and fetching debut album wheareas Chinatown is mesmerising, beautiful, and damn near faultless. I was completely captivated from the end of the first line of the first song (in comparison, my reaction to Littlest Birds on Blue Horse was "Hmmm, I wouldn't play this to some of my more sceptical friends.")
Sweetly aching melodies and delivery with the slurred vocals (Vancouverette John Martyn?) luring you further in, like songs from the sirens. Junkie Song is stark, emotive, and haunting, the most beautiful song I've ever heard about something so ugly. House of the Rising Sun is magnificent, and I didn't even recognise it until it was half way through!
Some reviewers have indicated that this verges on "music to slit your wrists to" but I find it uplifting and life-affirming. A beautiful, mature, and astounding record, burned into my heart.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what beautiful soulful, quiet, acoustic music, 6 Mar 2006
By 
M. A. S. Martins "marco" (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
this is a collection of gorgeously sung songs. simple compositions, sparse, spot-on instrumentation, the mandolin, the steel drum, the guitar, and that sexy husky low voice accompanied by a hushed chorus. its a cd for lovers of the slow song, the craft of music, the blues tinged with country and bluegrass. gorgeous and soulful. give it a try.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a drug, 16 May 2003
By A Customer
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This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
I am convinced that somewhere out there for everyone there exists something so deeply familiar and resonant, so subtle and perfect, that it fits like a glove, and fills the soul. The perfect drug with a make-up that fits your chemical receptors as though that was what it was created for. I have found mine and I'm never coming down again.
I have to admit that this second offering snuck up on me a little. Blue Horse was an immediate 'hit' a rush, it was great. This little gem took a little longer but it insinuated itself into my subconcious first. Now its my genes I swear.
We're all different though so its something you'll have to experiment with for yourself. Be brave. Theres a whole new world out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These ladies have soul., 4 Mar 2003
By 
mary-kate olsen (British Columbia, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
It is rare to hear soul anymore, I've realized. There are plenty of people out there with their hearts on their sleeves and we all have one tragic story to tell or another but rarely can something actually do justice to our experience. This album has a richness of texture and (forgive me)...a heart...that is rare. These ladies have soul. And they embody it beautifully.
One can only hope that somebody 'out there' in music industry land is actually HEARING this and will wake up and mercifully put an end to the tyranny of 'Pop Stars'. After the revolution Christina Aguilera will be nothing more than a terrible dream.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful ballads shot through with melancholy, 3 Feb 2003
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
This is a marvellous disc, and a huge leap forward from their very pleasant but relatively middle-of-the-road first album. Less mainstream than Emmylou Harris, but less astringent than either Lucinda Williams or Gillian Welch, "Chinatown" focuses on heartache in the best country manner, but it's all done with a delicate subtlety that's too often lost in the heart-on-the-sleeve Country tradition. The playing is ideally low-key -- restrained -- but all the more effective for that. Hazeldine and
Freakwater come to mind as comparisons, but the Be Good Tanyas seem to have outclassed all with this new one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow Nights, 5 May 2003
By 
Andrew Foulds "Melancholic Grizzly" (Nottingham,uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
The second album by the Tanyas and surely as good if not better.Probably an aquired taste but if you love folk or blue grass or roots/world music then this deserves a place in your collection.Once you've played it you'll find you cant stop -the voices combine in an unusual harmony that makes it so brilliant- it is like nothing else and who wants it to be.If you dont want to buy it at least borrow a copy and listen - not to be missed ever!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I hated country music til i heard this ...., 24 Jun 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
I can't stop playing this CD, they have the most beautiful, haunting, harmonising voices and they can play those gee-tars like the devil's own. I saw them on the Jools Holland "Late" show a while back and bought this cd on the strength of their performance and was delighted when every track proved as good as the first. I especially love "Rueben" which is as good and catchy as the Soggy Bottom Boys's Man of Constant Sorrow (the song from the movie "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?") which I love too. So if you watched that movie, loved it, don't know anything about country music but think that Dolly Parton and all those big country stars are best played by line-dancing fans listen to this and be swayed. All the tracks have their own merit, not a duff one on it, in my opinion and I am hard to please. Some lovely wistful stuff, but not trite, I loved Dogsong too, about burying your old dead dog, but a million miles away from "Old Shep"!! You will be humming along to them all. "Lonesome Blues" is a beautiful gem by these gals, can't quite imagine I would feel the same with old Dolly Parton banging it out though. If you like Cerys Matthews' "Cockahoop" you will like this too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Finger-Pickin'-Good, 13 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
This has taken a lot of thinking about, it's kind of hard to pin down the qualities you want to emphasize even if you know the end result is a work of sheer genius. I

first heard Fiona Talkington play Frazey Ford's song "Firecracker" on Radio 3's "Late Junction". I got her album "Obadiah" from the now-defunkt "Chiswick

Records", it took a few weeks to arrive, but was a truly glorious discovery, taking priority over everything else on the hifi for at least 6 months, (to give you an idea

how good it is). I'm listening to it as I write this review. So, I came to the "Be Good Tanyas" backwards way round, getting the exceptional "Blue Horse" first. They're

probably playing this album in heaven right now, it really is that good. The reviews for "Chinatown" said the mood or overall feel, the subject matter was much

darker in tone, and looking through the track list I can see why people would say that, but don't be put off! Very few bands manage to follow a monster smash first

album with anything comparable because of "commercial pressure", but Chinatown is a work of sublime, if sometimes melancholy beauty, with 7 originals

composed by the girls, 5 arrangements of traditional songs, and 2 exceptional covers of other writers' songs, including Townes van Zandt's "Waiting Around to Die",

given a grim beauty with the arrangement the girls have done. If you thought "Riders On The Storm" was moody have a listen to this! I'm not going to try to pin

down the ethereal beauty or some of the nebulous mood creation, save to encourage you to buy the album and give it a couple of listens, and to say the alchemy is

acheived with guitars, banjos, ukuleles, basses, fiddles, violas, violins, piano, harmonica, accordian, cornet, a saw and probably the best harmonies since The Beatles.

I saw a remark from Neil Young the other day, in an interview with Samantha Parton (glad to know you are getting better Sam) and it said "If you get far enough

behind, eventually you'll be cutting edge!" and it perfectly sums up The Be Good Tanyas. If you have listened to Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Ry Cooder, Joanna

Newsome, Richard/Linda/Teddy/Kami Thompson, The Unthanks or Lisa Hannigan then please have a listen. In the movie "All That Jazz" the character based on Bob

Fosse is talking to his guide into the next life, an angel, and he says that when he looks at a rose, he wants to ask God how he acheived that level of perfection. That's

me listening to The Be Good Tanyas. If you read this girls, or if your agent reads it, please do some more albums! Come and sell-out The Royal Albert Hall again, and

if you can bring Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings and The Old Crow Medicine Show with you! That would be a bonus!
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5.0 out of 5 stars How I nearly missd this one., 17 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
Cannot stop listening, never tired of them, lots of clever prose, tunes and - that trumpet!!!!!!! When do we have more from these girls?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful folky -blues from the BGT's..., 28 May 2013
By 
os - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Chinatown (Audio CD)
A lovely acoustic slow-burning folky-bluesy album from a female trio that deserve to be much better known.
For lovers of vocal harmonies and sensitive guitar and banjo picking 'Chinatown' is a must buy,especially if their tastes veer towards the moodily atmospheric. Some of the material delivered here derives from traditional sources but it's the arrangements especially on tracks like 'In My Time of Dying' and 'House of the Rising Sun' that bring new life to what to some ears be over-familiar territory. Elsewhere, the band penned songs are by no means shamed by such esteemed company. 'The Junkie Song' and the snappy 'Ship on the Song' are little masterclasses of songcraft and understated performance.

'Chinatown' is the sort of album that is best taken as a whole.I find myself putting it on my CD player intending to listen perhaps to only a track or two,and finding myself transfixed by it and ending up enjoying the whole thing.Fave track? well, the cover of the Towns Van Zant 'Waiting Around to Die' and it's melancholy blues harmonica has to on the shortlist! Failing that, the tale of love and regret 'In Spite of all the Damage' is a real beauty.Recommended.
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Chinatown
Chinatown by The Be Good Tanyas (Audio CD - 2003)
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