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on 31 January 2013
I received my copy of Laylam yesterday, and have played it a few times in the car and have to say it really grows on you. I'm very familiar with the work of Eliza Carthy and Bella Hardy through their solo work, The Imagined Village and The Life of Birds with David Rotheray, so I knew pretty much what to expect, and was not disappointed. I have heard little or none of the music of Lucy Farrell or Kate Young, and was pleasantly surprised. The album is varied, Chickens in The Garden gave me a chuckle, other highlights include Dewdrop, June is the Coldest Month, and 100 years, which has a rustic, eastern European/Romany feel to it. All in all, highly recommended. I'll defo be looking out for future solo work from messrs. Farrell and Young!
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on 12 April 2013
I am familiar with 3 of these performers through previous solo recordings and seeing them live in concert,but had not come across Kate Young before. Northumbrian Piper Kathryn Tickell apparently suggested they might try playing together, and despite fears of a female folk supergroup collaboration, overall it seems a very democratic ensemble that definitely sound like they are having fun together. Each artist is responsible for bringing 3 tracks each to the album,and some of the tracks selected are not all traditional folk staples, for example a cover of Patsy Cline's classic Walking After Midnight is included. All of the girls play fiddle, and there are some nice vocal harmonies, with the deeper voice of Eliza Carthy clearly standing out. I am sure that live in performance they will be a great spectacle. This is an enjoyable and pleasant album, overall very good but perhaps not outstanding. It seems an inspired moment in time, a fortuitous coming together, whether it will be a one off recording or the first of many we will have to wait and see. I see they are going to be playing live at a variety of venues over the coming months, and I am sure they will be a good group to see in concert. My favourite tracks so far are June is the Coldest Month of the Year and Chickens in the Garden chosen by Liza, and Walking After Midnight chosen by Bella. There is not a duff track here, they are all accomplished performers who are supportive and egg each other on to good effect.
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on 30 January 2013
Supergroups ( even of the Folk variety) are always worth caution but this does not disappoint. A varied set which has great dynamic range and an interesting choice of material including trad songs Americana and a Peggy Lee number. The album hangs together very well as the moods shift until the lovely finale . There is a continued sense of fun but there are no short cuts or filler. If you know and like the members individual work then you'll have an idea of what to expect. The playing and singing are top class and deserve a wide audience. .
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This is a really good album. Eliza Carthy, Bella Hardy, Lucy Farrell and Kate Young are all outstanding singers and folk violinists but I wasn't sure what to expect when they got together. The result turns out to be absolutely terrific - musically rich, respectful of the material while giving it an individual treatment and above all immensely engaging and enjoyable.

There is a varied selection of stuff here: traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic and some really unexpected things like Why Don't You Do Right - Peggy Lee's hit from the 40s which I think is just sensational. Throughout the album the arrangements are excellent, varied and not always as you would expect: some of Dewdrop sounds as though it might be a rather radical string quartet by an adventurous modern composer, for example. Much of it, though, contains beautiful harmony and fabulous singing with the four distinctive voices combining beautifully. This is combined with the four fiddles in various combinations - sometimes all playing richly together, sometimes just a single plucked string and almost everything in between. There is top-class musicianship here and it goes to make a really enjoyable album as well as one which has the quality to last for many years of listening. I love it.

Folk music is in the hands of many excellent musicians at the moment, and these are four of the best of them performing wonderfully together. Laylam is a real gem in my view, and very warmly recommended
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on 11 April 2013
I bought this album on spec without hearing a track as it features three of my favourite performers. Technically it is very good but I've yet to find the one outstanding track that usually lurks within the list. It's quite an eclectic selection of songs and tunes with each artiste bringing their own touch of individuality to the table.
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on 3 March 2013
Put together 4 of the top women folk singer/fiddlers, give them free reign and they'll deliver something unique. Tight harmonies are the consistent feature of a wide variety of tracks supported by a superb range of strings - a musical journey through English ballads, sea shanties, American pop and gospel often in an enexpected version. Although a joint effort of the quartet, whose enjoyment shines through, I would guess Eliza Carthy had the most influence. I look forward to being able to see them perform live - it's got to be fun.
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on 1 March 2013
Interesting collection of performers in this folk 'super-group'. All excellent fiddlers of course, they have chosen a thoughtful collection of songs I personally found very enjoyable. Maybe more relaxed than some tracks on their various individual albums?

If you like any of the group as solo performers you should buy this album, I'm sure you will like it.
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on 25 February 2013
I first heard a track from this on Mike Harding New folk prog. proof pre-ordered on the strength of this on track. I certainly wasn't disappointed the whole album is beautiful with superb harmonies from all the girls.but special mention must go to Bella Hardy what a voice that girl has got
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on 18 February 2013
four well established artists in the folk world singing some really nice songs. Loved the music ,especially the fiddle playing .Singing was really good too . I also like the fact it had quite a few really happy songs .Some folk CDs can be quite depressing.
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on 7 April 2013
I bought this because of Carthy & Hardy's involvement and was not disappointed. It is an eclectic mix of self penned, american folk and old standards all performed and arranged superbly. Four female vocalists and fiddle players does not sound like a good combination but the variety of styles and sounds produced are a breathe of fresh air and highlights just how poorly served most other modern female performers are served by towing the corporate line.

I love this record (Greasy coat often goes on repeat), marked down one star purely because some of the song choices will not meet the approval of more conservative tastes or people who like folk musicians to only plough a very narrow furrow.
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