The first album from Fay Hield, "Looking Glass" was a simply wonderful piece of work - check out my review for full details - so, whilst I've been genuinely looking forward to her new album, I've also been concerned. Just how was she going to top her debut? Would she even try?
It's a common belief that sequels are never as good as the debuts, and one of the oft-quoted exceptions is "Godfather 2", where the sequel is held to be as good as, and possibly better, than the original. This album, then, is the folk equivalent of "Godfather 2".
Fay has not strayed too far from her template - articulate, literate songs in a traditional vein performed with gusto and/or delicacy. The difference here is the Hurricane Party. They have brought an added depth and a warmer, rounded sound - the perfect partner for Fay's beautiful voice: I've seen Fay live a few times, and the musicians have always been an integral part of the live experience - that they're fully acknowledged here is well-deserved.
Simply put, this is an exceptionally good album and one that you'll get a lot of joy from owning. Buy it. You need it.