1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Refined and earthy - brilliant,
This review is from: Vagrant Stanzas (Audio CD)
This collection shows Martin in his prime. It could be his best work to date.
His excellent vocal phrasing and expressiveness are spiritually wedded to the songs. As an instrumentalist he has a unique and refined touch. His Tone, range of timbre and dynamics are masterful. He plays finger-style accompaniments which are seamlessly woven into the vocals using guitar or banjo. He interpolates some exquisite slide guitar in places, sometimes plucking head-side of the slide.
There isn't a mediocre track on the CD and as I listen new favourites worm their way into my ears. A few highlights are 'Diamond Joe' with banjo; 'Delta Dreams', an atmospheric road song; an elegantly crafted reworking of a great Dylan song I had forgotten, 'North Country Blues' - plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
I went to see Martin in duo with Martin Taylor at Ashington folk club on Sunday 06/10/2013. Now I'm a big fan of Martin Taylor, but here's not the place to praise him. The duo worked beautifully together and they plan to record a CD together so watch out for it. On the night Martin Simpson sang three songs from the deluxe version of this CD; a superb version of Dylan's 'Blind Willie McTell', 'Waly Waly' and his own song telling the true story of two heroes of Gallipoli, 'Jackie and Murphy', a Geordie and a donkey respectively, written at the insistence of June Tabor. They saved over 300 wounded under deadly fire. The donkey got a medal but the man was denied a posthumous VC for being nominated "under the wrong category of heroism." In the highly unlikely event that I was ever so brave as Jack Simpson Kirkpatrick, I'd rather have the song thanks.
I bought the CD on the night on the strength of this song alone. Do as I did, buy the deluxe limited edition with an 8 track bonus CD of equally wonderful material before it sells out. It's cheaper too on Amazon!.
B. Arthur is a professional guitarist and guitar teacher active in Northumberland UK.