Ashes And Diamonds CD
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Ashes and Diamonds
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After 1976's debut album, "Airs & Graces" and her celebrated collaboration with Maddy Prior on "Silly Sisters", June came back with one of 1977's best folk albums with "Ashes & Diamonds," consolidating her position as one of the foremost song interpreters in the country. Featuring Nic Jones on guitar & fiddle.
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Stand-out tracks for me are Now I'm Easy, The Earl of Aboyne, Lisbon and No Man's Land.
With the exception of the first track, I thought the instrumentation worked well - supportive and restrained.
Enthusiasts might like to note that Nic Jones features on 4 of the tracks (guitar and fiddle).
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The opener "Reynard The Fox" was in fact more effective than Tabor's earlier collaboration Silly Sisters in giving her music a lighter feel, whilst the accessible "Now I'm Easy" showed that Tabor never had to sing desolate, dark music to be effective, whilst the Australian-themed "Streets Of Forbes" showed an echo of her classic 1990s style with its sparse, even hushed piano. The follow-up (in theme as well as on the record) "Lord Maxwell's Last Goodnight" featured some beautiful, harpsichord-like guitar from Nic Jones that gave a cathedral feel Tabor would never replicate, but her soft voice was in prime form.
"Clerk Saunders" was a long and not altogether memorable a capella piece, but Tabor more than made up for it with "The Earl Of Aboyne", which illustrted the darkness inherent in ancient England like few other songs, and the earthy closer "No Man's Land"/"Flowers Of The Forest". The synthesiser of the former song sounded remarkably unlike pop, but rather like guitar or even horn effects, whilst Jon Gillespie showed himself to be as good a pianist as Huw Warren was later. Tabor gave an oddly eccentric, echo-like vocal on the a capella "The Easter Tree" to round off an album that perhaps deserves more acclaim.
Songs vary from three-handkerchief tearjerkers to bright and funny. FLOWERS OF THE FOREST is the definitive version of this eulogy for lost soldiers. DEVIL AND BISHOP MCGLYNN is hilarious!
It's solid enjoyment from the first to last cuts.
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