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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's that 'difficult' second Christmas album!
Christmas albums are always to be approached with caution, I can count on the fingers of one hand the ones I have really liked, 'Carols at Christmas' by Maddy Prior; 'Holiday Songs & Lullabies by Shawn Colvin, 'The Day Dawn' by Boys of the Lough, 'We Three Kings' by The Roches, and best of the lot; 'Sweet Bells' by Mrs O'Kane.
I've only listened to 'While Mortals...
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by Stephen

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant listen
Kate Rusby has recorded better tracks, but these are still quite pleasant to listen to. Slightly disappointed by the synthesised backing on some songs.
Published 5 months ago by Revd David R Buckley


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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's that 'difficult' second Christmas album!, 16 Nov 2011
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This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
Christmas albums are always to be approached with caution, I can count on the fingers of one hand the ones I have really liked, 'Carols at Christmas' by Maddy Prior; 'Holiday Songs & Lullabies by Shawn Colvin, 'The Day Dawn' by Boys of the Lough, 'We Three Kings' by The Roches, and best of the lot; 'Sweet Bells' by Mrs O'Kane.
I've only listened to 'While Mortals Sleep' a half-dozen times so far, but it's way up there with the others, and may top the lot. I used to love her old band, but having seen her solo in the old days I did think they were a bit 'show-pony' on some of her albums. Her current band are much more low-key and sensitive, which allows her wonderful voice to come more forward in the mix. I've never been a fan of brass bands on contemporary records, but the way this lot weave their way in and out of most of the songs on this album is utterly beguiling. Kate back to her very best!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It!, 15 Nov 2011
By 
D. Lowe (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
Yet another brilliant xmas CD from Kate Rusby,I love Shepherds Arise, if you get a chance go to one of her Xmas concerts where she performs a selection of xmas songs, not to be missed. If only Kate would perform more concerts in the London area instead of one a year!
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kate Rusby - Wishes you a South Yorkshire inspired Happy Christmas, 26 Nov 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
The past few weeks have seen a plethora of winter as opposed to Christmas album's not least Kate Bush's shimmering "50 words for snow". Now that other great Kate namely Ms Rusby from Yorkshire gives us what amounts to a second instalment of slightly off the beaten track traditional christmas folk songs which follow on from her earlier "Sweet Bells" an album full of wintry - wrap your scarf around your neck - warmth and the best version of the "Holly and the Ivy" this side of the north pole. "While mortals sleep" picks off where "Sweet Bells" left off and bless her every year Kate Rusby takes these songs out on the road in a December tour and brings her own kind of special festive cheer to a town near you. It is understood that daft reindeer jumpers, a hearty mince pie and a over flowing large glass of mulled wine are compulsory at these events.

What makes Rusby's Christmas fare so special is the loving care and passion she invests into these songs, some of which are new(ish) while others very old. Her voice is as clear as a frosty day and her lovely version of the"Little town of Bethlehem" never sounded this good when this reviewers fellow pupils butchered it at school carol concert. The opening song "Cranbrook" is instantly recognisable since Rusby has adapted the lyrics to the tune of "On Ilkley Moor Baht `at" and try not to sing along. Equally if "Kris Kringle" doesn't bring a smile to your face then your heart is frozen in permafrost, while the splendid brassy version of "Joy to the world" is a sheer delight. Throughout the anchor to the album is that voice full of character and heartbreakingly plaintive. Its a cliche but Rusby could sing the menu of your local chinese takeaway and the next day you would burn it as a CD for your friends. On "Home" she has recorded a real yuletide beauty whose gorgeous melancholy completely tugs at the most cynical of old heartstrings. It really does deserve wider circulation and to displace the tired old triumpherate of Wizard, Wham and Slade from their outrageous Xmas domination of our airwares. The BBC review of this album tells us that the words to "Diadem" date from 1779, and the song does have a aged quality which seems to connect with something deeper about Christmas than the usual commercial blitz, while one of the albums standout tracks is the great version of the Christmas Poem the "First tree of Greenwood" which should be the starting point for the curious downloader.

Ultimately you have to take "When mortals sleep" on its own terms. It is quite simply a traditional folk album of songs which deserve to sung by one of the best practitioners out there. Should Rusby want to continue to present such albums as annual fayre as a quality alternative to those wretched "Best Christmas albums ever" or even Michael Buble's plundering of the legacy of Sinatra and Nat King Cole this should be a cause of Yuletide celebration. No new ground is broken here but ultimately thats not the point. Kate Rusby is a big talent and will clearly have much more non related Xmas albums up her sleeve for the future, but for now enjoy this lovely Christmas feast.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Effortlessly beautiful, 1 Dec 2011
By 
Max (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
Warmly recommended, effortlessly beautiful, not a trace of schmaltz or sentimentality, just graceful and mesmerising... (Suitable even for Scrooges and Grinches.) Sadly not living anywhere near the Frozen North where Kate Rusby's Christmas tour is taking place, we will have to "make do" with this. (But really, it's not "making do" at all. It's perfect just as it is.) Hope you enjoy it as much as we are.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasonal yet timeless, 13 Dec 2011
This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (MP3 Download)
Having most of Kate Rusbys work I bought (downloaded) this as a matter of course but with the same doubts I had as a seasonal sceptic that I had when I bought Sweet Bells. Having just seen the live performance at the "Phill" in Liverpool the music / concept has been put into context for me. The carol singing of South Yorkshire is as much a tradition of the area as Coal Mining and Steel making is (sorry - was !!) Christmas music is part of our seasonal and cultural heritage - dare I say Folk heritage ! ! This is beautifuly illustrated by the use of some non mainstream (yet atill authentic)tunes to well recognized lyrics. As an exiled Yorkshireman integrating the brass into the tunes is fabulous - brought a tear to the eye with happy memories of Christmases past gathering as a family and staring at the radio. And of course the superb voice with a thankful lack of mid-atlantic twang. Buy it and try to get to the concerts . Seasonal greetings to all - Hey Santa pass us that bottle will ya ! ! !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate's Christmas, 9 Dec 2011
This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
I saw Kate talking about the release of this album at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the summer, and hoped it would live up to, and equal her earlier Christmas album Sweet Bells. All I can say is that if you liked Sweet Bells, or enjoy folk music remotely, buy this album. Is probably one of the best christmas albums I own!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars While Mortals Sleep, 6 Feb 2012
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This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
If you like Kate Rusby you'll really enjoy this selection of beautifully sung Christmas music. The CD was rated CD of the Week by The Times when it first came out and it's easy to see why.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars While Mortals Sleep, 2 Feb 2012
By 
Mrs. L. E. Franklin "Liz Franklin" (County Durham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
Beautiful, festive and nostalgic. Kate never fails to enchant with her beautiful voice. The different slants on carols which we know well lifts this out of the usual syrup of christmas music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another feast of music, 17 Jan 2012
By 
G. van den Hof "folk.45" (Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
After the first album with carols from Yorkshire - which I enjoyed very much - I was hoping that Kate would make another album. When in a Dutch newspapaer I read that she indeed had a new one I immediately ordered it and I enjoy it as much as I did with the first one. Those two albums are amongst the Christmas albums I listen to more than any other album I owe
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KATE RUSBY - While Mortals Sleep, 7 Jun 2012
This review is from: While Mortals Sleep (Audio CD)
Avoiding the cliché of echoing the ending of each line of "Cranbrook" ("While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night") set to its original melody and pinched by Yorkshire for the setting of "On Ilkley Moor Baht'at" this jaunty start to Kate's second seasonal offering proves a joyous bundle of fun. Joined by the Brass Quintet Boys ensemble this proves a judicious addition to Rusby's band featuring Damien O'Kane (guitar), Ed Boyd (bouzouki), Julian Sutton (diatonic accordion) and Kevin McGuire/Duncan Lyall (double bass). To be perfectly honest the collaboration of brass arrangements coupled with a `folk music' background creates such a feel-good factor that I'm surprised Simon Cowell hasn't cashed in on it. With its mixture of traditional ("Little Town Of Bethlehem"), contemporary ("Kris Kringle") and Kate's evocative "Home" there isn't a duff track here. All right, so everyone by now must know how popular Christmas is for me musically speaking with over 100 albums and counting and so it proves with a majority of not only performers but their audiences as well. Along with my James Taylor `At Christmas' and The Spinners `Sing Out, Shout With Joy' recordings this is by far and above the best representation of any seasonal offering I have the pleasure to own and goes without saying that you should purchase a copy to put yourself in a good mood whatever time of year you play it. A 100% (Christmas) cracker!

PETE FYFE
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