I bought this after hearing the beautifully willowy Barleycorn on the radio one evening. This stunning opener captivates you, the perfect blend of traditional lyrics fused with rousing string arrangements. Van Eyken's approach is brave. He blends traditional compositions with elements taken from rock and even jazz. "Gypsy Maid," with that pinging bass string is a fine example of Van Eyken's approach. I doesn't all work. Fair Ellen of Ratcliffe sounds a bit cluttered with the guitars and strings all merging together. This is a fine combination of sensitive folk numbers and up tempo jigs, A welcome new voice.
I share the views of the other reviewers. This is a very good album, well recorded so it works well on a good hi fi producing a great big sound stage. Barleycorn is a fine song (I first heard it sung in 1970 by Martin Carthy so Tim's somewhere about the same age as Martin was then, Tim's also been a member of Waterson/Carthy so it is no surprise that there is some crossover of style). 12 Joys of Mary is the standout track for me. It starts slowly with drums/percussion provided by Pete Flood of Bellowhead fame (see Hedonism for their latest offering) it soon builds a driving rhythm with Tim's Accordion coming to the fore and when we get to the eighth joy trumpets, trombone and tuba join in and my spirit soars!
When I first listened I wasn't sure, but each listening is better. Some tracks are outstanding - Young Alvin and 12 Joys are magnificent, and (unlike another reviewer) I also liked Fair Ellen. Babes in the Wood and Fisherman (a reworking of the 60's Hart/Prior version) aren't as good, in my mind, but it's all a matter of taste I guess.
The voice is excellent, and wholly under control... only thing that amazes me is how nearly identical it is to Martin Carthy. Did Tim model himself on Martin, or did they coincidentally happen to come from the same postcode?