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Straws In The Wind
Review of Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick CD

By Julius Timmerman
Posted Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It’s been a long while, but the most famous duo in English folk music is back together. And the beaut thing is, they’ve picked up exactly where they left off. This is an album of songs, bar one, from the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. All bar two employ traditional tunes, the others being written by Dave.

Of the 14 songs, included are “Death of Queen Jane” about Jane Seymour, one of King Henry’s unfortunate wives, “When I Was A Little Boy” using the same tune as Steeleye Span’s “King Henry”, “Lord Inchiquin”, “Bold Benjamin”, “Whalecatchers” and “Jacky Tar”. Interesting notes on the origins and topics of the songs, based on A.L. Lloyd’s notes, are provided by Martin.

Lovers of this duo’s other albums can expect the same high level of artistry here. Here they sound a little as though they’re whiling the afternoon away on the verandah, but the spark is still pretty strong - Swarbrick is always sympathetic as he weaves in and out on his fiddle, while Carthy’s deep voice and guitar strongly narrate the dramatic stories and ballads. It's all dry and unadorned, but the musical intensity of these gentlemen and their innate feel for the genre are right there.

TOPIC TSCD556 (Planet Dist.)

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Straws In The Wind