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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin has fun, 6 Sep 2011
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
While producing an album that once again is an emotional roller-coaster Martin is, on this album, having fun with a bunch of respected musical friends. It ranges from the almost tear-jerking "Brothers Under the Bridge" and "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" to the joyous "Little Liza Jane" and more than adequately showcases his brilliant guitar and banjo skills. The track "Don't Leave Your Banjo In the Shed Mr Waterson" is made the more touching given the recent death of Mike Waterson for whom the tune was written.

Hearing the bonus track makes one wonder how long it will be before we see Martin being joined on stage by his daughter Molly, a la Martin and Eliza Carthy.

An excellent introduction to the phenomenon that is Martin Simpson and a fine follow up to his last album, True Stories.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still grinning in your face, 19 Sep 2011
By 
J. B. Egan "ridgeway" (somerset, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
Let me start by saying that this is the 19th Martin Simpson album I have bought and he's just as good as on his 1983 release " Grinning in your Face". Or should I say he's always been excellent on every album since then, up to and including "Purpose and Grace". He looks a bit grimmer and greyer, but he still knows how to have a lot fun with his friends, who he gathers together for a star studded production. Its a knock-out album,my personal favourites being " General Wolfe", "Strange Affair", and " Barbry Allen". Lots of instrumental magic from the whole band and quite a New Orleans feel in places.Just realized I've been listening to this guy making superlative music for over 28 years now! He's a classic master of the guitar. Keep on playing those tunes Mr Simpson.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Man Of Clear Vision, 7 Sep 2011
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
There might be one good reason for buying Martin Simpson's new album
'Purpose + Grace' : his performance, together with June Tabor, of
Richard Thompson's sublime song 'Strange Affair' - but there are, in
fact, a further dozen other good reasons for doing so too. Mr Simpson
has no need to mess about with his material; giving it a contemporary
twist or tarting it up with over-decorative detail. This collection
shines like gold; its simple merits a testament to its maker's artistry.
True, there are some very special guests on board too but it feels as
though they are here as friends as much as co-conspirators. It's a joy!

Standout tracks include : the uncluttered solo rendition of 'Bold
General Wolfe', wherein one can almost smell the sea and hear the
cannons roar - a great story well-told and well-played by a master;
the rough and ready vernacular of the inimitable Scottish singer
Dick Gaughan on 'Jamie Foyers'; the wonderfully pathos-filled account
of Bruce Springsteen's 'Brothers Under The Bridge'; the evocative guitar
lamentations of 'In The Pines' and the stirling interpretation of 'Brother
Can You Spare A Dime' (Mr Gaughan again on fine form, delivering another of
the album's finest moments). The pick of the crop for me, however, comes
with Mr Simpson's intensely focussed performance of 'Barbry Allen'. One
man and his guitar and a lifetime's experience condensed in a single song.
Wholesome and magical music making really doesn't get much better than this!

Both the purpose and the grace of Mr Simpson's vision are wholly palpable.

Essential.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great and the Good, 17 Nov 2011
By 
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
This is not a solo album. It is a superb collection which shows the quality of the singing and playing of a gifted musician and his friends.

The best album of this year.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enduring Brilliance of a Man at the Top of his Art, 7 Nov 2011
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This review is from: Purpose + Grace (MP3 Download)
Being a proud possessor of 12 albums by Martin Simpson, and listening to music for around 50 years, and in particular a listener of Folk Music for around 40 of those years. I am not a musician but a listener of Music interested in the sound of Music, and its emotional affects. I firmly believe Martin Simpson to be one of the finest of English Folk Music's musicians, singers, and writers. Whether it is Martin's incredible expressive voice or his marvellous guitar playing any album by him is a treat. What make this particular album majestic are the duettists Dick Gaughan and June Tabor - their songs are especially magnificent. I firmly believe Martin Simpson to be one of the most excellent of English Folk Music's musicians, singers, and writers. I would buy an album of Martin Simpson singing the BT Phone Book - because I know he could turn it into the sheerest quality imaginable. Purpose + Grace is a very fine album with some extremely accomplished playing and song writing - a recommendation to anyone who is interested in pure music for its own sake, and a writer whom has his finger upon contemporary issues, and whom can illustate a song with sheer breathtaking presence of his wondeful voice.
Martin Simpson is clearly a genius and always comes up with thought provoking songs, and sublime guitar playing - something that remains with the listener long after the music has finished. Music to me is a deeply personal thing, and any Music that is to be listened to by me has to have some deep resonance, any Martin Simpson Music can do this. I myself do not like to single out any specific track in order not to give an impression that the album only consists of one track - instead I am interested in the totality of Music - Martin Simpson fulfils this category - magnificent and overwhelming. Indeed what is particularly important about Martin Simpson is; he is able to inject and illustrate finely irony and pathos in his magnificent voice and incredible guitar playing, important in grabbing the listener's attention - making the Music Deeply Meaningful and coming alive.
I do recommend this album, as with any Martin Simpson album - because this man is a living legend - easily in the vein of other Great English Folk Music's geniuses. Purpose + Grace is a very great album, worth investing in - buy it today, and be impressed and astonished by genius! Purpose + Grace
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simpson keeps going, 11 Oct 2011
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
When most musicians with a back catalogue as long as Martin Simpson's would have faded into blandness, Simpson still produces albums well worth listening to. Despite a bit of recycling, 'Purpose and Grace' is good enough to reward the established fan, and draw you in if you are new to this remarkable guitarist and songwriter
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Review, 12 Oct 2011
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
Up to Martin's usual standard. I found the collaborations both interesting and enjoyable with a pleasing mix of traditional, covers and new songs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Martin Simpson C/D, 8 Oct 2011
This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
As always Martin Simpson is always worth listening to and this C/D is no exception. He has such an easy style and on this occassion he has included fellow musicians. Well worth the money
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another success, 3 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
Yet another great Cd from martin; good selection of different styles and his usual superb guitar playing. Well worth the money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He just gets better, 2 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Purpose + Grace (Audio CD)
Martin' Simpson's latest album, Purpose & Grace is another masterpiece. His eclectic electric folk and blues compositions are fab. Saw him again last night (01/10/11) with Andy Cutting and Andy Seward at Ingleton - what a privilege.
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Purpose + Grace
Purpose + Grace by Martin Simpson (Audio CD - 2011)
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