Glee to set toes a-tapping!
This a wonderful album of traditional music from these sceptred isles.
I love the combination of what almost sounds like a scratch band who just happened to pick up some instruments which were lying around, and then launched into playing and revealed how skillful they are. This feels spontaneous (I’m sure it isn’t, but the absence of a ‘produced’ tweaked in a studio feel is what gives rise to the immediate joyousness)
Carthy’s ebulliant and bouncy fiddle playing is hard to sit still with, demanding the listener jig and twirl.
Perhaps this is sacriligious, but I rather prefer daughter to mother, vocally. Norma Waterson is superb at dark strong tough smokiness (even if she doesn’t, for me, touch the parts which only June Tabor can reach in earthy ancestral soulfulness) but that is what she always does. Eliza Carthy has some of this, but there is also a spring and a lightness and flexibility to her voice. At times she sounds sweetly, sorrowfully mellow, (listen to the Bold Privateer without tears threatening, if you can!), but she can mix this all up and sing of joys and frivolities with equal ease.
I had some reservations about the instrumental piece, MCMBE, as I was more enchanted by the combination of Carthy’s singing and playing, than I was by MCMBE (Martin Carthy MBE) the piece composed by Carthy Junior for dad, and found my attention dipping a bit here, particularly as it jarred for me a little with the English, particularly North Country English, traditional heritage of music, which is the concept of this album. MCMBE is like finding a chapter from a Virginia Woolf book inexplicably in the middle of one by Fielding!