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Best of Maddy Prior and Carnival Band
on 20 December 2012
Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band have created some unique recordings of Christmas music over the years. They have mixed classical, folk, medieval and country elements into a glorious sound.
There have been many albums since they were brought together in 1984 for BBC Radio 2 Folk show.
This is a collection of tracks covering some of the highlights of that long recording career.
The debut album was TAPESTRY OF CAROLS on Saydisc Records. A Tapestry of Carols
Six songs that originally appeared on that album are included here. They are The Coventry Carol, Ding Dong merrily on high, The Holly and the Ivy, Personent Hodie, God rest ye merry Gentlemen, Angel's from the realms of glory. Then the next album was CAROLS AND CAPERS on Park Records. Carols and Capers The tracks from that album that are included in the Best of compilation are While shepherds watched, Monsieur Charpentier' Christmas Swing, Joy to the World, See amid the winter's snow, Poor Little Jesus, The Boar's Head, The Cradle Song and Away in a Manger.
Those two albums are the biggest contributors to this collection. Also on this album is Bright evening star, Bring us in good ale and The quiet way home. All from the album RINGING THE CHANGES Ringing the Changes
There are two further tracks from GOLD FRANKINCENCE AND MYRRH Gold, Frankincense and Myrrhcalled Hark hark what news and The carnel and the crane.
Finally there is one track called Blake's cradle song from VAUGHN WILLIAMS CAROLS , SONGS AND HYMNS Vaughan Williams: Carols, Songs & Hymns and one track from the Carnival Band album HOY POLLOI. Hoi Polloi The track is La Danse.
The tracks on this compilation are in mixed order of recording but the sound is fine throughout. Each of the original albums are highly recommended on their own. But this compilation does make a great package and a good album in its own right.
Maddy Prior sings with passion and serenity, her vocals are harmonious and enthusiastic. It is a perfect performance from someone who is a champion of traditional music. And in their performance The Carnival Band give us lots of energy and fun.
Some of the tracks have a medieval feel to it. Others have Traditional folk flavour whilst others have clear Classical and blue grass influences,
The use of instruments such as gitten, mandochello, double bass, tabors, basel trammel, glockenspiel, cowbell, triangle, cymbals, tambourine, violin, bassoon, clarinet, Shawms, curtal, recorders, bagpipes, fiddle, tin whistle, lute, mandolin, banjo, bells and vocals help to give us that flavour. It is a rich sound.
The vocals give a sometimes sacred feel and sometimes a rousing uplifting sense of joy. There are English and European influences. And also there are American influences in the interpretation such as the New Orleans Cajun fiddle on "Angels from the realms"
This is a great Best of collection and it gives a good cross section of what Maddy and the band have been doing all these years.