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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Created on a laptop?
They say that Jim Moray created this album on his own laptop. He must be pretty good with the laptop - but that's not the whole story. I actually bought the album just after it won the "Best Album" prize in the Radio 2 awards in 2004. My daughter and I were both captivated by it. To me "Early on Morning" was a song we sang at school in a dreary arrangement, and Jim's...
Published on 13 April 2006 by Canny Quine

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Narcissus Lives
The booklet notes reveal all, or rather they don't. There's no list of songs, or timings, let alone any information about their provenance and context. Just a collection of self-regarding photographs of Moray in a variety of narcissistic poses. And from the absence of any other credited musicians, one must assume that he plays all the instruments, which are many and...
Published on 12 May 2011 by mrprofrob


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Created on a laptop?, 13 April 2006
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
They say that Jim Moray created this album on his own laptop. He must be pretty good with the laptop - but that's not the whole story. I actually bought the album just after it won the "Best Album" prize in the Radio 2 awards in 2004. My daughter and I were both captivated by it. To me "Early on Morning" was a song we sang at school in a dreary arrangement, and Jim's treatment is fresh and exciting.

My favourite track is a spell-binding performance of the Child ballad "Lord Bateman". I had never really connected with this ballad before (not even the Nic Jones performance had made much impression), but Jim Moray puts heart and soul into the telling of the story, and now I can't get it out of my head.

And it's not just the laptop, because I've heard Jim live as well. And it's just as good as the album. It's great to hear one so young breathing fresh life into English traditional songs, and keeping the tradition alive.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning debut from folk world's new kid on the block, 21 July 2003
By 
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
"Folk music? That's all finger in the ear and hey nonny nonny stuff isn't it?" laughed a man I met recently.
How I wish he could hear this album. He'd have a job dismissing folk in those terms if he did. And an even harder job describing this unique new approach to traditional English music.
Jim Moray, just 21 and a recent graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire, is making mischief in the folk world,turning it on its head and injecting it with colossal new life.By adding the word "techno" to "traditional" he could be the best hope yet of taking folk/roots to a mainstream audience.
He made his mark as runner up in Radio 2's Young Folk Awards with a haunting version of "Poverty Knock" and hearing him on the radio some time afterwards was one of those rare moments when you literally stop what you're doing and listen. The only word for it is "arresting".
Now, after his EP "I am Jim Moray" comes "Sweet England", a collection of 10 songs, including some of our best known ballads. The recording started life in his bedroom, created by equipment largely paid for by a student grant and took on a life of its own. Few folk singers walk on stage with state-of-the-art music software ready to sample snatches of songs that are then brought back into play to huge effect throughout the number. Don't ask me how it works - you'd have to ask him. But those echoing vocal samples are mesmorising, especially when you see him live.
This is an "into the future" slant on ancient songs about love and longing, heroes and villains, squires and maidens - and the odd colley bird thrown in for good measure!
His "Gypsies", based on the traditional "Raggle Taggle Gypsies", will send shockwaves through the veins of purists with its dischordant menace while the unaccompanied clear tenor singing on this and "The Week Before Easter" proves he can sing without the help of high tech trappings, not to mention play guitar and keyboards.
His voice is effortless in the opening classic "Early One Morning" while "April Morning" is enhanced by his sister's (I think)beautiful fiddle playing and the title track is simply sublime.
Then there's the echoing soundwash of "Lord Bateman" while the technical wizardy is probably shown to best effect in "The Seeds of Love" with its complex sound layering. A self-penned song "Looking for Lucy" wraps the album up and shows he has songwriting skills too.
So, at one take, Moray has preserved our musical heritage and taken it to a higher technical plain. It's an album that will grow on you with each playing, just as Moray's fame will escalate if there's any justice.
So buy this album and even better catch him at one of the many folk festivals he is playing this year. Whatever you make of his music, you can't ignore it. Moray is an innovator and the haunting nature of this album is even reflected in the bizarre pictures on the CD sleeve.
As he says himself :"This is just folk music from the point of view of someone that has heard hip-hop and The Smiths and Radiohead and S-Club". He's already played Glastonbury, littered the radio airwaves with his music and made teenage girls swoon on the other side of the Atlantic. What next for Jim Moray?
His album is on the amusingly-titled label Niblick is a Giraffe. If Niblick is a giraffe, Jim Moray is a genius.....
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truely beautiful, 14 Oct 2003
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
I first heard the name Jim Moray when at Oysterband's recent tour for their cd, 'Rise Above' (also a worth while buy!). As a die-hard Oyster fan I was initially dubious about other artists stealing the show, but by the end I was in awe of the fantastic tones of Jim's voice and his talent for shedding new light on such classic material.
Sweet England doesnt have a single weak track, and will keep you captivated from start to finish. Favourites of mine include 'One Early Morning' (there could not have been a better chosen opening track), 'The Seeds of Love' (an absolute masterpiece), 'The Suffolk Miracle' (Id never heard this wonderful ghost story before, and it was very moving) and 'Longing for Lucy' (an excellent demonstration of song writing skill).
This is without a doubt the best cd that I own, and I thoroughly recommend it to everyone, especially newcomers to folk music. If you can only have one cd this Christmas then make it this one!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant album that has divided opinions, 28 Dec 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
Sweet England is nothing short of brilliant - not only because it has breathed new life into some of the most worn out songs from England's traditional back catalogue by gently but most effectively rearranging the songs using the best that modern-day technology has to offer while resisting the temptation to overuse 21st century sounds for the sake of it, but also because in creating this beautiful album Jim Moray has stirred up a debate which has revealed the true colours of many in the folk world.
Staid folk message boards which used to trundle out uninspiring threads about meeting times at the next folk festival have, have come alive with debates on whether this album is an afront to folk music or a revolution we should all join. Quite a feat for an album made by a 21 year old in his bedroom on equipment he was learning to use while recording.
The most traditional of traditionalists have balked at the media coverage the album has received - arguably the most coverage ever received for a debut album of English folk music. It has been everywhere - Guardian, Telegraph, Times, you name it, they seem to love it. But this it would seem means that Mr Moray has 'sold his soul', no longer qualifies as a true folk musician, and as such should be criticised for everything from his voice to his live performances, anything that will stop you thinking that this may in fact be as important a record as everyone from Radio 2's Stuart Maconie to Billboard's Paul Sexton say it is.
Personally I think that people outside the folk world are better qualified to judge this record as they are not bound by unwritten rules which hold that world together, ensuring the status quo in a community whose unchanging image reflects its approach to music as a history rather than as an art.
But if you are someone who eagerly anticipates the next Bowie, Radiohead or John Cale album because you want to see what new boundaries they are challenging this time, then you need to buy Sweet England.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very, very important album, 25 Aug 2003
By 
Paul (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
What can you say about this album that hasn't been said already? It's all true!
Jim Moray is a once-in-a-generation artist who effortlessly shakes up and redefines his chosen area of work.
With "Sweet England" he has already changed many people's perceptions of what Folk Music is and the mind boggles to think what he will do next.
Is it cockiness that made him open the album with possibly the most famous, indeed over-familiar folk song of all time?
He's basically showing us that he means business and that no cow is too sacred to escape his attentions.
Each song is reinvented thrillingly...but not in any gratuitous way. Moray has quite obviously seen into their hearts and interpreted them completely intuitively....giving them a sound and style that shows a perfect affinity for this material.
My favourites are The Seeds of Love (the Bond Theme that got away!), Two Sisters (utterly haunting), Lord Bateman (hypnotically romantic) and The Week Before Easter (an acapella to make Brian Wilson green with envy!)
The cover art shows him asleep in a fairytale wood, being watched by a menacing-looking dog. This sense of romantic vulnerability permeates the album and stays with you long after the last note has played.
To sum up: it's beautiful, startling, hypnotic, haunting, revolutionary and quite simply an undisputed classic of the future.
(PS: there's a pretty cool hidden track in there too!)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jim Moray-Sweet Engalnd, 16 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
This is an AMAZING album. As a teenager whos never really heard a lot of folk music, i loved this album from start to finish, it makes a change from bland, uninspired artists like dido and various pop idols. jim Morays voice is wonderful, and the music uses traditional folk songs, but with a modern twist. the tracks i like best included Sweet Engalnd and April Morning. Track 10, a song written by the singer, is also lovely. Buy this album, its great!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 11 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
This album is a breath of fresh air and somehow manages to introduce modern electronica touches and still avoid sounding like a pastiche. The songs are still amazing - try sitting and listening to it late at night and the stories will be as real as they could ever be. I have probably found it easier to pay attention to the lyrics on this record than on many recent folk releases. Maybe it's a diction thing - cause Jims voice is certainly clear. The one thing I would say to those feting this as a turning point for folk / the noughties Liege and Leif etc - go and listen to Sian James' Di Gwsg from a few years ago - even more modern influences and fantastic singing.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet England is Amazing!, 3 Aug 2003
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
When one hears about a CD that is made up mainly of Traditional songs, and Folk songs at that, Sweet England is not what you would expect. Jim Moray has managed to combine haunting words of the past with modern arrangements to captivate your soul. He doesn't settle for one kind of sound, or a simple set of instruments but rather presents you with a wide variety of sounds to best showcase each song. And when you find out the age of the artist behind such compelling work, you realize age doesn't matter in this universe of music.
Tracks that stand out are:
Early One Morning - starts out traditionally with strings and his voice, but after a bit it is transformed by a dreamy electronic beat.
Gypsies - The way Jim Moray delivers the words on this track is incredible, and offers a vivid portrayal of the story.
Longing for Lucy (Jim Moray) - This song composed and arranged by Jim Moray is a haunting tale of today that incorporates a similar style to the Traditional songs that accompany it on this CD.
Sweet England - title track that speaks of wanting to be home again, which speaks to any who have left home. It demonstrates a love of England that is represented throughout the entire disc.
Though only a few tracks were given special mention, each song is incredible!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shafts of musical light..., 5 Sep 2005
By 
Benjamin J. Whitehouse "Book geek" (Wrexham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
English-rose front-man, Moray, laces the lyrics of folklore with powerful Matrix-styled guitars, film-score piano and a backing band which grinds together electric double bass and thundering drums. His presence on stage is something to behold. He looks scruffy on his website but he's beautiful in person.
Moray harkens back to traditional folk and propels the genre forward with a 21st Century twist.
Don't confuse this fresh indie approach with the folk rock of Fairport Convention or Steeleye Span, but rather be surprised to sense impressions of Ben Folds greets Depeche Mode greets Evanescence. It's all here, whichever musical genre ticks your box, Moray can offer it up without confusion or the awkwardness of musical experimentations. He even played the piano with his arms crossed at one point.
What better way to spend an evening than by listening to the shafts of musical light emitting from 21-year-old Moray.
His album, Sweet England sums things up. Forget to buy it at your peril.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Fairy Tales, 14 May 2004
By 
Juan Mobili (Valley Cottage, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: SWEET ENGLAND (Audio CD)
This the lowdown on Moray: the man is only 21 and has un undying love for old, traditional English folk ballads. So, what does he choose to do? He compiles a number of songs, mostly covered by the most revered traditionalists of that genre, and brings to them the sound and instruments that you would expect a 21 years old to be immersed in. The thing that makes this whole album exceptional is that each song is a marriage of modern and old, without a hint of hibridity, songs brought to life by a different breath and sensibility. Sweet England, April Morning or Longing For Lucy are prime examples of that. Electronica, in some cases, or an electric guitar, help create modern fairy tales.
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