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The Last Star CD

4.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (4 Oct. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Navigator Records
  • ASIN: B003ZJUIHS
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,877 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Product Description

New release

BBC Review

She may be an Irish singer from County Kildare, who first attracted attentions while working with the celebrated Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies, but Heidi Talbot is rapidly becoming a key figure in the flourishing and vibrant Scottish folk scene. She is now based in Edinburgh with her partner John McCusker, the celebrated multi-instrumentalist who can be heard on recordings by artists including The Battlefield Band and Paul Weller. And Talbot, too, has been involved in a series of collaborations, singing on albums by Michael McGoldrick, Idlewild, Kris Drever and Sandy Wright.

Now, surely, it’s time for Talbot to be recognised as a soloist in her own right, and this album – the follow-up to her In Love + Light set of two years ago – shows the range in her charmingly low-key approach. It was produced, predictably enough, by McCusker, who also plays fiddle, cittern and whistle, and the list of other musicians involved reads almost like a Who’s Who of folk celebrities: Ian Carr and Boo Hewerdine on guitars, McGoldrick on uilleann pipes and whistles, Andy Cutting on accordion, and with harmony vocals provided by Drever, Eddi Reader and Karine Polwart.

Considering that line-up, one might expect an album of grand instrumentals; but the end product is the exact opposite. Many of the songs start out low-key, with Talbot singing against an accompaniment of acoustic guitars or fiddles, other instruments or backing vocals subtly joining in. Her approach is always intimate and often easy-going, but she can switch between different styles. Opener Willie Taylor is an epic narrative ballad, a story of love, a girl dressing up as a man, infidelity and murder – and now given an Irish twist. Then there are sadder but still jaunty songs like Tell Me Truly, which features a sturdy melody from McCusker, and the country lament Hang Me, perhaps too relaxed considering its bleak lyrics.

Talbot changes direction yet again for sea shanty Sally Brown, and for the light but upbeat Bleecker Street, a song about dirty tricks by American females of dubious morals. Here, for a change, McCusker allows himself a fine and extended fiddle work-out. The title-track matches a grand, gentle melody by McCusker against her own lyrics, and it’s as effortless and quietly exquisite as the final track, a revival of Sandy Denny’s emotional ballad At the End of the Day. It provides a fitting finale to an engaging and impressive album.

--Robin Denselow

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Heidi Talbot has added to her growing reputation with another fine recording. This is a more focussed album than In Love and Light (which had a number of styles running through) and is unashamedly folk from beginning to end. She possesses three main advantages; an unusual voice, excellent song selection, and she happens to be married to John MacCusker who is a superb record producer.

Her main forte seems to be wistful, low-key songs like "Hang Me" and the title track where she sounds not unlike Kate Rusby and Cara Dillon however the accent is different from Rusby and she doesn't make as much use of trills as Dillon. There are some fine up-tempo numbers to counter-balance these like "Sally Brown" and "Bleeker Street".

I would question her decision to do 2 Battlefield Band songs (MacCusker's former group) they're both brilliant (Shepherd Boy and Starting All Over) but she's asking for direct comparison wth Karine Polwart and even though Talbot has a better recorded sound I still prefer Polwart's singing.

"Willie Taylor" is a song with many alternative versions. This one leaves out the chorus but still works very well and is an ideal opener.I must admit to loving the second track "Tell Me Truly" which is a simple waltz with a catchy chorus that builds with extra voices and I can't help singing along myself.

There isn't a weak song on the album but for me she sings too many songs in the same range and style which can get a bit tiresome. Her voice hints at a husky or hoarse edge but sounds smoother on this recording than I've heard in her live shows. Also the albums closing two tracks are just too similar to what's gone before to leave any sort of wow factor.
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Wow Heidi Talbot! I found this album after trawling the Amazon archives for something like this and I found 2 albums by Heidi Talbot - simply amazing. The most beautiful voice and with a tenderness truly captivating. 'The Last Star' and the other album 'Angels Without Wings' I would not be without in my collection. From 'The Last Star' - 'At The End of the Day' - is magic and you will have to play it again - and again. From 'Angels Without Wings' just listen to 'Wine & Roses' and 'When the Roses Come Again' - just very beautiful. Spoiled rotten with these two albums and both are 5 Star!.
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Maybe its not intended, but the sound and feeling on this is so much like Kate Rusby , that it hurts.

Its pleasant enough, but not demanding, not original and I don't play it much.

To be honest, after first playing it, I put on a Kate Rusby disc and she blows away the artificiality that Heidi Talbot provides on this CD...
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See my other review for "Angels without wings" and this is pretty mch the same. Great vocals.... haven't tired of it after multiple plays.... listened to through a good pair of headphones is wicked - which tells you something about the quality of the production. Well recommnded - but I suggest you take in a live performance as well.
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Format: Audio CD
I have been waiting for the release of this album for a long time, and I have not been dissappointed! The music is absolutely superb - if you only buy one folk album this year, make it this one! Her style is similar to Kate Rusby, and I thoroughly recommend Heidi to anyone who likes Kate.
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The CD is worth buying alone for the stand-out track "Start it all over again" which is haunting and beautiful. Also, the hugely talented John McCusker has assembled a fine set of musicians, most of whom have "transferred" from Kate Rusby. Having said this I did find the rest of the CD a little disappointing - can't put my finger on why, maybe I haven't yet become the complete purist that would appreciate everything?
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kate rusby but a bit more celtic fantastic voice i only bought it as i will be seeing her live at cambridge folk and shrewsbury folk festivals well worth the money i suggest you buy a couple of albums i have both great
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Just one listen to this wonderful album was enough to book my place by the fire this winter. folk at its best, a lovely voice, interesting lyrics & the perfect chill-out album after that gloomy journey home from work.
If you like this also try;
Jesca hoop - "kismet acoustic ep" & "lumiere" by Pauline scanlon & Eilis' kennedy.
Sheer joy...!
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