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October 23, 2007



What people like is all a matter of opinion, but when I've heard Rachel Unthank on the radio she sounds out of tune and not in control of her voice. She doesn't impress. As for Liege and Lief - after 40 years I still don't see what the fuss is about with Fairport Convention. I just don't get this excitement about rock bands doing folk music badly. (All that drumming is so unnecessary).

Colin Randall

....wouldn't life be duller if people didn't have opinions? But that's two of my choices you don't like, Jim. What about people you think don't do folk badly or, more to the point, have done it particularly well?


Who do it well? - most of those in your Salut! Greats section for a start, especially those from the North East. Others I like are Karen Casey, Cherish the Ladies (though they were better with Aoife Clancy), Dolores Keane, Niamh Parsons, Maddy Prior (time for a new Silly Sisters CD), Coope Boyes and Simpson, Session A9 and lots of song-less bands - eg Buille, Chris Stout Quintet. Not all have new CDs this year to be considered for your top 10.

Ken Josenhans

Hate to be another downer here, but I have to agree with Jim's specific criticism of Rachel Unthank & group -- everytime I hear them on the BBC folk shows, I say, "Can't anybody here hold a pitch?" I don't consider myself a vocal critic, and this is not a common reaction for me.

I didn't buy a lot of folk CDs this year. I'd put Bella Hardy forward, but her album has come out so late in the year that maybe she'll get consideration next year. I got Tim Van Eyken's STIFFS ETC. album in 2007 after seeing him live, and that was exceptional.

As for reissues: again, I'm probably behind, but for me the glory of the year was BGO's issue of the three Five Hand Reel albums with Dick Gaughan, in one set. Those had been out of print for nearly 30 years. LIEGE AND LIEF is all well and good, but I haven't been convinced that the 2007 issue is a big sonic upgrade from the 2004(?) remastering.

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