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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Kitty Jay
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 July 2008
This is a grudging four-star review (rounded up from three-and-a-half). I had come across Lakeman before in his local band Equation. I heard he had come up with a solo album based on local legends and my curiosity was aroused. This review addresses superficially the songs individually before looking at the album as a whole.

"John Lomax" is surprisingly good; making the chorus softer and quieter than the verses is very effective. "The Bold Knight" displays Lakeman's skilful handling of the violin. "Fight for Favour" is too sparse, whilst the title track displays marvellous energy in its violin cross-rhythms. The opening to "Farewell My Love" is a cringing parody of folk music. There is good drumwork in "Blood Upon Copper", but the song ends too soon. "Henry Clark" sounds like a preliminary to something bigger. "The Storm" is a missed opportunity too: where IS the sound of the storm? "Cape Clear", the longest track at 4'20'', combines an ominously sustained church organ with some fine violin-playing including some double-stopping. "The Ballad of Josie" is distinctive through its female backing vocals. The final song, "The Streamers", ends the album unmemorably.

With his poor enunciation, Lakeman's singing is just about bearable. The album is almost completely acoustic throughout its 37 minutes and eleven tracks. This was, presumably, the intention, but it has left the sound poor and sparse, giving it the feel of a demo-tape. It is an album of incredibly missed opportunities. For example, the ending of the opening track just suddenly fades out, whereas it calls for a build-up to a denouement.

But the more I played the CD, the more it grew upon me. Lakeman has good latent songwriting skills, although his lyrics border on the naïve in places. The songs need to be developed. They cry out for a more complex, deeper production, a more polished style. And so, for me, the album lives up to the poor life of Kitty Jay, "such a beauty thrown away".
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on 13 September 2005
An amazing release that has brought a new level of light to the whole folk genre.
Richard Thompson if he didn't have so much bile and stomach ulcers.
Jeff Buckley if he had grown up in dartmoor.
Nick Drake if he'd cheered upa bit.
A sober John Martyn with a voice as beautiful as a spring morning.
Starting to get the picture? Just go buy it.
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on 16 November 2005
What a great album! This guy sounds like a young Rod Stewart singing folk. Forget the beards and tabards, Seth Lakeman makes folk rock very cool. He's a fair singer but a better musician and the intensity of his voice makes masterpieces out of several of the tracks. The title track has the most wonderful atmospheric violin backing (by Seth himself) and recalls The Ballad of Lucy Jordan from the Seventies; both are about women who had unusual fates.
Other great tracks are Blood upon the Copper, Henry Clarke and the haunting John Lomas, with the Ballad of Josie (about another fated lady).
Seth seems to have been heavily involved in writing, producing and arranging most of the tracks.This is treally an album which brings folk into the 21st century!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 3 October 2015
Following the release of Seth Lakeman's second album 'Kitty Jay', it was deservedly shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize for 2005. This is traditional folk music with a contemporary edge, and his subsequent albums, in which he repeated the winning formula, have led, not only to critically acclaim, but real chart success.

Here, on his breakthrough record, Seth recorded songs which dealt with the usual traditional folk themes, legends and stories which were inspired by his hometown of Dartmoor. This is something that he would repeat on the albums which were to follow, and such bittersweet tales are always interesting to hear, not to mention the ability to evoke some wonderful pictures which will circulate inside you're head if you have the creativity to let them. My personal favourites are the title track, the tragic story of a betrayal, 'Joe Lomas', and 'The Ballad Of Josie', which deals with a woman who also fell (literally) victim to a betrayal, from her recent lover.

By relying almost only on his violin, acoustic guitar, and that excellent voice of his, this is music from a real musician who knows how to write good songs. Considering the tiny budget of 500 pounds which was made to record the 'Kitty Jay' album, it's quite remarkable to have such a confident, compelling folk record, and one which will endear this classic musical style to new generations.
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on 14 February 2016
I’d never heard of Seth Lakeman until I saw him on the BBC1 Breakfast show back in 2008, he was on talking about his album which was “Poor Man’s Heaven”, and they showed some of the single he’d released off the album which was called “The Hurlers”. :-)

Already have his albums “Poor Man’s Heaven” and “Hearts and Minds”.

I really liked it so I went to see if Amazon had the CD, they did so I bought that along with a couple of his others. :-)

I love the way he composes and how a lot of his songs are about the Southwest. :-)

If you were to ask me if I’d any favourites I’d have to say yes, it’s the entire CD. :-)

Personally I love this this CD and it’s a must for all Seth Lakeman fans. :-)
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VINE VOICEon 1 May 2006
Before the release of "Kitty Jay", Seth Lakeman may have been best known as an ex-member of "folk supergroup" Equation. The band, which also featured his brothers Sean and Sam, launched the solo careers of the band's three vocalists Cara Dillon, Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts. However, the split doesn't seem to have caused any bad feeling, while the ladies' high profile solo careers haven't caused any apparent jealousy. Cara and Sam left the band together and, not only are they still working together, they have even married each other. (Talk about mixing work and pleasure). In addition to her solo albums, Kathryn has recorded with Kate and Sean, while Seth appeared on Cara's first two albums. "Kitty Jay", meanwhile, is produced by Sean and features a guest appearance by Kathryn. Unfortunately, for Seth's former bandmates, it's also an album they're going to have a very tough time competing with.

All eleven songs were inspired by and written about the legends and stories of Dartmoor, where the Lakeman brothers grew up and where Seth still lives. It's very difficult to pick out any highlights, as the album is consistently excellent - but I'm going to mention the three trad tunes anyway. One of them, "Cape Clear", is a gentle, nearly mournful, number and is the album's only instrumental. The other two, "Henry Clark", and "John Lomas" - the album's opening track - are also excellent, if somewhat different in mood. (The album's closing track, "The Streamers", is based on another trad tune called "The Streams if Lovely Nancy"). Of all the songs on the album, it's possibly one of Seth's own - "Farewell My Love" - that comes closest to what the `popular' view of a trad song may be. The album's title track, meanwhile, features some great violin playing - it almost sounds like Seth may have spent a little too much time alone with a pot of coffee.

Although Kitty Jay sits firmly in the folk / trad category, it still caught me a little off-guard. (Anyone, for the record, expecting bearded old men wearing woolly jumpers drinking from tankards in smoky dark inns will also be a little confused). Given his `role' in Equation, I'd only ever seen Seth as a fiddler and had expected an album full of instrumentals, rather than just the one instrumental track. Although Kathryn guests on "The Ballad of Josie", it's Seth who provides the lead vocals throughout and - at the risk of stating the obvious - he does a great job. The violin, though, does prove to be the album's `lead' instrument. "Kitty Jay" is a superb album, and fully deserved its Mercury Award nomination - the bar is set at a very high level from the first track and the quality is maintained throughout.
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on 14 May 2013
this cd arrived badly broken looked like it had been kicked around the floor for a week before being packed !!! envelope was not damaged !! sent back for refund
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on 27 December 2017
Great CD but took ages to arrive
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on 6 December 2017
Speedy delivery
Spot on
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on 23 March 2015
Saw him in concert on the strength of hearing the title song on the radio. One of my favourite concerts ever of any kind - an energy verging on the supernatural!. I then bought this album and later two others by him and love the range of the themes he uses - but most of all the brilliant music making.
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