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4.4 out of 5 stars
Little Black Numbers
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2002
Kathryn Willams was a name I had never heard of until her "Mercury Prize" nomination, that alone made what to find out more about this young lady. But when I heard her sing what an angel!, clear sweet vocals with excellent songs written in the most part by herself. Then I read somewhere that she painfully shy and spent alot of the time recording this album in her bed!
Anyway enough of the background stuff, and to the album itself the first track on this self financed album (she is "CAW RECORDS)is a work out for the bass response on your speakers as she has used a CELLO and DOUBLE BASS together and the bass sound is just fantastic!
What an opener to a truly wonderful set of songs, that are both intelligent and entertainig both at the same time something of a rareity in the world of "POP".
So go on treat yourself buy this today and you will not be sorry!...
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2001
To be honest, I am surprised that not more people have sung the praises of this album on this website. With songs so beautifully put together and affecting as "Soul To Feet", "Fell Down Fast" and "Tell The Truth..."(my personal favourites), this album is more than worthy of it's nomination at last year's Mercury Music Prize.
If you are after intelligent and heartfelt lyrics, with warm melodies and singing (Kathryn's voice is so gentle yet incisive) to match them, then I can only highly recommend this album. Which I do anyway :o)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2001
This has to be one of the best albums that i have bought. From the first song to the last you are completely enchanted by Kathryn's voice and by the strange but magical lyrics. My favourite songs are "soul to feet" and "Flicker" but it is very hard to choose a favourite from this stunning album from this new inspirational artist.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 July 2000
Little Black Numbers is amongst the most emotionally and musically satisfying albums you are likely to hear this year. Williams's first album "Dog Leap Stairs" showed enormous promise and its tenderness and gentle grace were leapt upon with enthusiasm by many a music journo. Now, with "Little Black Numbers", Williams has fulfilled her promise, honing her already considerable skill as a song writer and filling out instrumentation without compromising on the space and airiness of her earlier work. The album opens with the delicately weaved "We dug a hole", with KW almost whispering what seems to be a song of both isolation and solidarity. The song builds from a sparce accoustic guitar and vocal opening through Phil Spector-reminiscent drums to a finish with flashes of the Velvet Underground. Contradiction, that's what this album is all about. At one moment so sweet, you think your in love with Ms Williams, the next so ascerbic you're glad you're not in the position to get on the wrong side of her. How's this as a discription of those manipulators we all know: "You always leave before them/ you want them to think/ you've got so much to do/ maybe they're not...thinking of you", tell it like it is, girl! Then on the other side of the coin, try this for accuracy on the trust and vulnerability of love: "All I ask for is the sign for my fleeting/ lift me to your light/ felt the warmth/ back in my eyes". Later in the album, such feelings are well put into perspective on the self explanatory "Each Star We See" and "We Came Down Fron The Trees". Aside from the beautiful lyricism of this album, this woman would sound amazing singing the phone book. Her voice is gentle, crystal and never strident or over done. Intimacy is the word here, so much so, you feel she could be in the room with you. Her vocal stylings are perfectly complemented by the delicate instrumentation which is worked around her voice. Cello, double bass, spanish guitar, percussion, saxophone and hammond weave in and out, never doing exactly what you would expect, but never dominating the experience. They never demand you look them full in the face and thank them for coming, but you know the party just wouldn't be the same without them. Buy this album, you won't regret it!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2001
KW must be a next generation of folk singers. She's built a beautiful repetoire of gentle ballards that progress into an epiphany of instruments to accompany her songs. This album is truly outstanding and should be played on those rainy sundays when all you can do is read the papers and listen to music! A joy to listen to and makes a complete change from all the music makers that demand your attention with their hard hitting songs - This draws you in with a mystical touch in a very unassuming way. I am not going to pick out any songs as they are all brilliant in their own way. So go out and buy this and just listen.
An absolute must!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2009
Kathryn Williams is an outstanding talent. I really like her natural, genuine approach. You get the feeling that this is an artist who writes honestly about herself and those people close to her, and manages to convey complex emotions in a way that is somehow spot on.

It's hard to define exactly just what works so well with the songs on this album, but they are harmonic, and gentle - and surprisingly raw and powerful at times. If you like folk music, you will really love Kathryn Williams, and you'll want to buy all of her albums, and you will not be disappointed by any of them (with the possible exception of Dog Leap Stairs, which I think is her only weak album).

Of course, the real treat is to see and hear Kathryn singing live. And, not just for the realisation that she is incredibly talented, but because she's such a warm, lovely person. And, funny too.

I couldn't believe how brilliant she was live (as well as the individuals who have played with her and totally enhanced her talent) - I have enjoyed every song that was performed - and I have seen her live several times.

Her version of Hallelujah is particularly amazing. If you've experienced it, you'll know what I mean. Goosebumps.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2000
One of the best albums of the year. Beautiful, cleverly crafted songs, a gorgeous voice, simple acoustic arrangements. All the songs are strong and the ones that aren't immediately striking grow on you. Also, though it's all quiet and melodic, there's a good range of different mood, tone and song structure. And Kathryn can certainly write a lyric, I think you can see some comparisons with early Joni Mitchell, though her voice is very different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 September 2000
This album is all the music press say it is... spot-on lyrics, subtle and well executed instrumentation and a voice to die for. An all round fantastic album!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2000
Another elegant slow grower, initial stand out track... then the rest of the album hooks you in. Certainly worth a listen if you're a Beth Orton fan...
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on 28 February 2001
Ok, Let me talk about the good first. There are some brilliant moments on this disk. Notably are Flicker, Fell Down Fast, Each Star We See. This stuff is miles beyond most contemporary music. I have to wish that she had more depth, pain, maybe just a bit more life experience. But my standards are very high. (jeff buckley, michael hedges...)The talent is there, but the knowing voice isn't quite, yet enough to make this classic. Anyway. I recommend it. Give it a listen.
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