on 6 April 2002
I bought this CD about a year ago, and I was so enthralled by Connie Dover's beautiful voice and wonderful songs that I've since bought all of her albums. Her other CD's are terrific, but I think this is her best work.
The "Border of Heaven" includes such traditional favorites as "Sweet Betsy from Pike," "The Streets of Laredo," "The Water is Wide," and "Lord Franklin," all sung by Connie Dover in her crystal clear voice. The liner notes explain the origins of some of these works--"Streets of Laredo," for instance, is based on much older songs, at least one of which was called "The Sailor Cut Down in His Prime." The album features both versions, as the old song about a dying sailor transitions into the more modern story of the cowboy shot down on the streets of Laredo.
Some of the songs, like "The Blessing" and "The Wandering Laborer," are Scottish or Irish folk tunes. Others, like the hauntingly beautiful "I Am Going to the West," are original compositions based on traditional American folk lyrics or melodies.
I loved the CD because it's sung and arranged beautifully and because it has a variety of musical moods--traditional American, Celtic, and folk. There isn't a song on the album that I don't enjoy, and my wife loves it, too. I'm honestly surprised that Connie Dover isn't more famous than she seems to be, and I can't wait for her next CD.
on 3 December 2000
'The Border of Heaven' is aptly named, for many of the songs on this - Connie Dover's fourth solo CD - have a dreamy, angelic feel to them. Of course there are more upbeat numbers too, but then that is typical of this singer's records - a bold but effective mix of gentle Celtic ballads, 18th and 19th century American folk songs, a spiritual piece or two, and a smattering of Connie Dover's own compositions, which on this CD include the intriguingly original 'Last Night by the River', complete with the sound of eagle wing-bone whistle!
As is usual with this artist, all the songs are very very good. Several of the tracks may be familiar to lovers of traditional music, but Connie Dover's versions invariably set a standard which is hard to match. Her rendition of the sad but true story of 'LORD FRANKLIN' and his ill-fated crew of adventurers is simply the best I have heard. 'THE WATER IS WIDE' is also performed beautifully. And as for 'THE SAILOR CUT DOWN IN HIS PRIME', I think Connie's version of this familiar melody is perfection itself, although the style in which guest artist Skip Gorman sings the companion piece 'The Streets of Laredo', is sadly not to my personal taste. The up-tempo songs include the jolly 'SWEET BETSY FROM PIKE' and 'WINTERS NIGHT', whilst 'I AM GOING TO THE WEST' is another of Connie Dover's own compositions - but it sounds just as 'traditional', and every bit as good, as the old, tried and tested standards. The religious song on this CD is the hymn 'WONDROUS LOVE' - wondrous indeed! The CD closes with two more lovely tracks, the achingly sentimental 'MY DEAREST DEAR', and finally 'BROTHER GREEN', a melody, not so much from the border, as from the very heart, of Heaven.
The standard of this artist has been well maintained in this, her most recent CD - happily Connie Dover is seemingly still singing, and writing, the most charming of songs. Less happily, Connie Dover CDs seem to come out rather sparsely, at three year intervals - so here's hoping we don't have to wait yet another three years for the next one. There's a huge wealth of beautiful material out there just awaiting her attention; so come on Connie - get recording again! In the meantime, just enjoy this, her latest contribution to the world of tradional folk. She is the best in the business.