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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The whole house is singing...
For those who have been following the career of Alisdair Roberts since Appendix Out, the critical success of Farewell Sorrow comes as no surprise, but for me at least, the album itself was completely unexpected.
Unlike Appendix Out, which mixed pop elements with more traditional folk, on his own (although much of the band seem to have come along too) Roberts...
Published on 24 Feb. 2004

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5 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Acquired Taste?
I bought this on the back of a very favourable review from a reviewer who's tastes I find I usually share. But this was way of the mark. Roberts's choice of song feels contrived, coming as they do from an English folk tradition, though being contemporary approximations. I like folk music generally, and am not averse to listening to reworkings of old traditional tunes. But...
Published on 21 April 2004 by A. Macfarlane


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The whole house is singing..., 24 Feb. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Farewell Sorrow (Audio CD)
For those who have been following the career of Alisdair Roberts since Appendix Out, the critical success of Farewell Sorrow comes as no surprise, but for me at least, the album itself was completely unexpected.
Unlike Appendix Out, which mixed pop elements with more traditional folk, on his own (although much of the band seem to have come along too) Roberts concentrates more on his folk influences, presenting a set inspired by the British folk tradition, which he earlier celebrated in his acoustic covers album The Crook Of My Arm. The results are extraordinary, the sort of tracks which raise goosebumps with a single chord, let alone that voice of his.
The first five tracks are almost flawless, Farwell Sorrow and Join Our Lusty Chorus kicking things off gently and then the glorious, lively Carousing doing exactly what it says on the tin. Best of the lot is the (slightly worrying) I Fell In Love, which takes the Grey's Anatomy approach to romance, while the haunting I Went Hunting will stay with you for days.
Generally, I'm not really a fan of folk music, but Farewell Sorrow defies any genre labels that critics might throw at it, if you don't like folk music, you'll still like this. Trust me when I say that Mr Roberts is going to be here for a while.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars odd mix of fragility and muscularity, 6 July 2009
This review is from: Farewell Sorrow (Audio CD)
This album might seem for the sum just a footnote in Alasdair Roberts' career, but i think and hope it is destined to become very much a modern classic.

It has this wonderful kitchen sink feel about it, a very homely and intimate vibe, and production-wise, scarcely puts a foot wrong. But it is the songs by which the album stands or falls, and here we have a collection that is pitched just right, right from the quiet but mesmeric opener "Farewell Sorrow".

With a title like "The whole house is singing" you know you could be in for something special, and this is the stand-out track of the album, especially in the coda. Full marks for not ruining this with massed choirs or synths. The final track "Slowly growing old" with its question and answer chorus could come straight from the Incredible String Band (the only thing it misses is the twang of a sitar!) and this provides an interesting point of reference (and comfort) for listeners new to Alasdair Roberts.

Alasdair's voice is very honest and true, plaintive and Celtic with neery a hint of rock-n-roll roughness, and though this album could have been a terrible pastiche of traditional folk tunes, it absolutely isn't. Now if this had been recorded in the early 70s we'd be by now lauding a forgotten hero. Brilliant. Sweet. True. Honest. Exceptional.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstandingly beautiful, 2 Mar. 2006
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Alexander G. Marshall "alexmarshall3" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farewell Sorrow (Audio CD)
Ezquisitely recorded and played folk album, with dazzlingly literate, wholly original and intelligent lyrics. The level of skill on display throughout is phenomenal-this man is truly a phenomenon, he's coming from a place very few modern musicians have ever properly explored, namely the legacy of BRITISH music. Try the weird (and often capo-ed) alternative tunings on your own guitar and see where you get! Bold, inventive and charming.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 400 years old yet modern, 8 May 2006
This review is from: Farewell Sorrow (Audio CD)
I am baffled by Alasdair Roberts' ability to make his own songs sound at once traditional and completely fresh. Spooky, melancholy, at times sinister and completely compelling. And as for the elusive 'Polly' (who features in several songs) - sounds like he's well rid of her...
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5 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Acquired Taste?, 21 April 2004
By 
A. Macfarlane (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Farewell Sorrow (Audio CD)
I bought this on the back of a very favourable review from a reviewer who's tastes I find I usually share. But this was way of the mark. Roberts's choice of song feels contrived, coming as they do from an English folk tradition, though being contemporary approximations. I like folk music generally, and am not averse to listening to reworkings of old traditional tunes. But it just feels off when a musician in the 21st century is writing lyrics about hunting ducks with his bow and arrow; though this may be the first time since Dexy's Midnight Runners that the lyric "toor-a-ly-ay" was considered acceptable in a modern song. Perhaps I'm missing something - his voice is fine, the playing by no means bad - but this just felt a little misguided.
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