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on 16 July 2008
Like the new record by Eliza Carthy, 'Dreams of Breathing Underwater', this is for me perfect modern folk music, bringing to it vibrancy and innovation without sacrificing its earthy, local nature. Unusual instruments work very well; and who would have thought (certainly I would never that believed it) that rap could find its way onto a record like this and somehow work. The problem with music like this is its classification, because it transcends labels like 'folk', whilst 'Modern folk', or 'new folk' seem contrived. Well, that is another problem; but anyone with an open mind should enjoy this.
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on 16 July 2008
For those who loved Jim's first album 'Sweet England' but had a slightly harder time with the second, eponymous, release, have no fear. The man is back on form in a big way.
This is a tremendous album that has innovation ('Leaving Australia') and sensitive interpretation of traditional material in equal measure. Jim clearly has such a good feel for the folk material that he can bend it into almost any shape successfully. Well almost. I personally would skip the track where Jim attempts to introduce rap into an incest and murder ballad ('Lucy Wan'). But this is the only slight misstep on what is otherwise a tremendous collection.
For anyone with even a passing interest in folk music, and hearing it in an updated context rather than in a museum, this album is heartily recommended.
Nice One!
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on 28 January 2009
This is a fine set of songs and stories in the 'tradition', but it's also Jim Morays' brilliant re- telling and mixing that makes the whole thing work.
Lots of influences, ancient and modern, and one track 'Western Ocean', that puts me in mind of James Taylor and his lyrical twists. See what you think, don't hesitate to listen to this really fine work.
No backwards messages but keep the CD running to the end......
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on 17 July 2009
I'm not a folk fan and I don't know Jim Moray's music, but I was fascinated by 'Leaving Australia' when I heard it on the radio, and I still find myself playing it over and over while not being quite sure why.

Despite enjoying the stories behind traditional folk ballads, I don't like the musical tradition that normally accompanies them. Jim Moray brings a different perspective to this, which is idiosyncratic and which works for me. Having said that I can't say that I like all the tracks on this album, but thats definitely not to say I never will.

Some music grows on you, and I'm confident that most of this album will.
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on 25 March 2009
In my view this is the best restatement of traditional folk music since Liege and Lief in 1969.

It maintains the strength of the traditional songs while augmenting them with new musical forms. Jim Moray actually manages to improve these songs through fresh interpretation.

I'm appalled it didn't win Best Album at the Radio 2 awards but I'm sure Mr Moray won't be bothered. He has created something of lasting quality here that deserves long-term fame.

Buy it, listen to it several times: you will not regret it
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 October 2011
Jim Moray is a folk artist, but his influences are sufficiently broad so as to give him an appeal that stretches way beyond the confines of the English pastoral tradition. The album is very much of a piece -mainly old English songs combining with modern material so seamlessly, that it is hard to tell the old from the new.

The strength of 'Low Culture' lies not just in the imaginative arrangements and use of various musical exotica, but Jim Morays beautifully plaintive voice. The songs have a sense of authenticity and intimacy, a 'lived in feel', as if Jim himself were relating an incident from his own wayfaring life before the fireside of an evening. Lovely stuff.

Recommended tracks: 'Three Black Feathers', 'Leaving Australia' and 'Across the Western Ocean'
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on 20 October 2009
WOW! Jim Moray is so talented it almost makes me angry! This album both confronts and comforts! Unpredictable yet familiar - somehow he manages to mix it up without messing it up! A superb triumph of innovation and immagination. There's some great foot-tappers, heart-melters and well, a couple I'll let you discover yourself! +++ In my humble opinion, Jim Moray is one of the most ORIGINAL & under-rated musicians that we have in this country today - he's AWESOME! Buy this album if you want originality, innovation and that elusive magic which makes 'a great album'.
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on 26 April 2011
The outstanding track on this C.D. is 'All you pretty girls', a rousing sea shanty written by Andy Partridge of XTC. The rest of the album is very pleasant and even includes a rap by bubbz of Bristol. However, I think Jim Moray's distinctive voice and clever arrangements carry you along.
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on 15 March 2009
Not as good, and more importantly, startling as the first. I don't think the seam is mined out but I do think some of the choices and arrangements needed a more critical reflection before being put on the final edit. There's a lot of good folk but Seattle seems to be the locus of simple and powerful folk interpretation. Jim Moray and Kate Ruseby are OK but the BGTs, Freekwater and Bon Iver seem to have it nailed for ideas. Over here I thought Indigo Moss would lead the way though they have disbanded. That said the two who have gone from the band do write some interesting songs - one about allotments even! There is a very successful C&W song writer who hails from the UK who remarked that songs about the A33 don't quite do it on the old heartstrings pulling. That said, the UK can and does produce some excellent modern folk.
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