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Cara Dillon (2001) Original Recording

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Oct. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Charcoal Records
  • ASIN: B005MUQLQ0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,628 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Now being re-released on their very own Charcoal Records 10 years after its original release on Rough Trade in July 2001. Cara Dillon's eponymous debut album was recorded immediately after Dillon and partner Sam Lakeman ended their relationship with the Blanco-Y-Negro record label on Warners. Having reached a creative dead end during their time with Warners and becoming disillusioned with the industry, Cara and Sam felt this was their last chance to do anything worthwhile before giving up on their dreams of performing and recording music professionally. Their answer was to relocate from London to Sam's parents house on Dartmoor in Devon and record a collection of 9 traditional and 2 original songs that would, ironically, end up earning them incredible critical and commercial success and lead to them touring the world over. Upon finishing the recording sessions their manager, Geoff Travis, was moved to release the album on his label, Rough Trade Records. It was the first ever folk release on the über cool label, a long established haven to alternative indie artists like The Smiths, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, and the The Libertines. The critical response was both justified and far-reaching and almost everyone focused on two major ingredients. The first was Cara's revered angelic voice, incapable of singing a duff note and expressing emotion way beyond her years, and the other was the sensitive and fresh interpretations of tired old folk songs which placed them firmly in the 21st century while still paying homage to their traditional routes. After its release the album went on to win many International awards including the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for "Best Newcomer" and "Best Traditional Song" for "Black Is The Colour" and The Hotpress Award for "Best Roots Act' and Big Buzz's "Best Traditional Act".

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There has been much hype about Cara Dillon culminating in her double award at this year's radio 2 folk awards. On the evidence of this album the hype is totally deserved. The voice is indeed a beautiful one but what stands out for me from this record are the magnificent arrangements and the beautiful rolling piano of Sam Lakeman. The tone is set by the first track, the winner of 'best traditional track 2002, 'Black is the Colour'. It is a tremendous performance, quite exquisite and transposes traditional material into vital 21st century music. It is really hard to pick out favourite tracks but 'Donald of Gelencoe', 'Craigie Hill' 'She's like the Swallow'are tremendous arrangements, 'Blue Mountain River' bodes well for more self-penned material in the future but there are no duff tracks here. This is a group of young musicians wonderfully keeping the flame of the tradition burning brightly. It's brilliant stuff. Buy it!
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Format: Audio CD
Born and raised in Dungiven, County Derry, this is Cara's first solo album - she has released albums as part of the bands Oige and Equation. It was when she joined Equation she met the man who became her musical partner (and soon to be husband) Sam Lakeman. Together, they left the band within a year of Cara joining and started working towards this release. Recorded in Donegal and Devon, produced by Sam and released in July 2001 this album is a must-have if (i) you like music of a traditional / folk leaning or (ii) regardless of the musical style, you can appreciate a truly outstanding singing voice.
All but three of the eleven songs on the album are traditional. "Lark in the Clear Air", one of these three, is probably the album's weakest. The lyrics are brimming with so much sweetness, listening too closely to them could cause a feeling of nausea. In fairness to Cara and Sam, it wasn't penned by them - "Blue Mountain River", one of their own compositions, is a much stronger song musically and lyrically.
On the whole, though, I'd have to say I prefer the traditional songs. The album starts with what I'd consider to be the best - "Black is the Colour" and "Donald of Glencoe". However, the rest of the album is far from disappointing - the remaining tracks are all very good and would be the highlights of many other albums. "She's Like the Swallow" especially deserves an honourable mention. Like the rest of the album, it's beautifully played sung - it also has the benefit of not being a straightforward love song !
I'd say this album would be the sort of recording that would suit nicely when you've had a rotten day at work - draw the curtains, stretch out on the sofa, start listening and relax. I've never grown tired of listening to it, have never forgotten about it and still listen to regularly.
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Format: Audio CD
I heard Cara Dillon by accident. As I listened to her voice I could not quite believe how much power she carries in notes that she so easily reaches. Her lyrics are very traditional (Irish), and she refrains from carrying her own words, without in anyway missing out on a style so profound. I find her similar in listening to Eva Cassidy, she has obviously chosen songs that are loved by her, and sang them with much beauty, I would reccomend this title to anyone, as It would be a shame to not add this classic, to any collection. Sit back, light the candles, and dream about a day she sings so beautifully about, so as to feel as if you could slip from here, back to then. I think she is brilliant!!
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Format: Audio CD
If there is one voice you could listen to all day it is that of this girl from Dungiven, Northern Ireland. Heart-breakingly delicate, angelic, effortless, with a devastating rarefied quality which formerly I thought was unique to Polly Bolton. Stylistically brilliant, faultless -- and I really mean never a hint of a blemish -- with pure tone, the weeniest hint of vibrato. Completely natural, high, great range; never ever forced. It does sound girlishly sweet but it has absolutely none of the negative connotations. I doubt there has ever been a voice so quiet yet so powerful. Is it a head voice, or from the throat? I don't know: it just comes out from the corners of her mouth and mesmerises everybody. And yes, it sounds almost as good on CD as it does live.
If I had to choose musician/arrangers the Lakemans might well top my list. Keyboardist Sam is the principal musician and the arranger with Cara. By the second in Donald Of Glencoe the power of arrangement really pulls you up. It's a highly effective use of contemporary ideas to carry and add force to a trad song, followed by a paragon of simplicity in Craigie Hill; then a stunning rhythmic treatment of Green Grows The Laurel. Precision tastefullness almost unmatched for the still youthful average age of this lot. The Lakemans outdo just about everybody in distinctive original use of rhythm and instrumentation (without anything remotely whacky) for setting folk songs, even though the standard in this area has climbed steeply of late.
Good to hear the superb melody of Lark In The Clear Air; just piano/vocal. The Lonesome Scenes Of Winter is a classic example of how to build a sparse accompaniment into a full band setting -- there are other musicians on the album to provide electric guitar/drums/bass sparingly.
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