13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2001
What a joy! Maddy is in fine voice, and the partnership with the Carnival Band was made in heaven. Sounds like Christmas should be. Nice to hear some well known carols sung to unusual settings.
If you only buy one Christmas album, make it this one.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Maddy has long been an important figure in the British folk music scene, whether as lead singer of Steeleye Span, as a solo singer or (as on this album) with The carnival band, who specialise in medieval and other traditional music.
This collection of Christmas music is not a typical Christmas album - it draws heavily on old and largely forgotten songs. The range of instruments used is as unusual as the songs - they even include recorders. I thought recorders were just use to teach children to learn to play an instrument - but here they are.
First the familiar - there are three songs here which will be instantly recognisable to everybody - Away in a manger, Joy to the world and I saw three ships. While shepherds watched is a standard in Britain. The melody is different to the one I'm familiar with but I read somewhere that there are many different arrangements of this song. I'm not sure about it's status in America - it rarely appears on American Christmas albums (though it does occasionally). You might also recognise the instrumental Old Joe Clark.
Of the other songs, See amid the winter's snow occasionally appears on a conventional Christmas album (Julie Andrews recorded a lovely version in 1982) but I can't remember hearing any of the other songs on such albums.
The songs all appear to have been written between the 16th and 19th centuries and it may be that some were more famous then than now. However, they are all immensely enjoyable and it's great to be reminded of times long ago.
This is an album that took me a while to get used to, precisely because it is SO different, but it's been well worth it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is one of my favourite Christmas albums and one of the best folk Christmas albums as well. Maddy Prior had been famous as a solo artist and as a member of Folk Rock group Steeleye Span and is a major champion of traditional folk music as well as writing her own material. In 1984 she teemed up with the Carnival Band to produce an album of Christmas music called "Tapestry of carols".
This is the follow up Christmas album to the earlier "Tapestry of carols" by Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band" It was recorded and released in 1991 but this time it was recorded by Park Records rather than the earlier mentioned album recorded by Saydisc Records. In fact this is the first recording on the Park records label from Maddy and the Band.
This project continues along the same path as its predecessor. And in the true spirit of folk music it blends traditional elements with other elements. Since folk music is a living tradition it is always changing and bringing in new interpretation and influences. This album offers a wide mix of influences but always in a traditional and tasteful way.
The album has a medieval feel to it. The use of instruments such as Shawms, curtal, recorders, bagpipes, fiddle, tin whistle, lute, mandolin, bells and vocals help to give us that flavour. And there are added instruments such as Acoustic and electric guitars and drums and banjo that help with the interpretation.
The vocals give a sometimes sacred feel and sometimes a rousing uplifting sense of joy. There are English and European influences and interpretations of a traditional nature. And also there are American influences in the interpretation with some clever marriage of styles that range from the medieval to 20th Century.
There are some unique twists of interpretation and they are all done perfectly.
It is a joyous album that will be always be a favourite.