Rachel unthanked in the end
Irish music at its best? (3)

Eliza Carthy's prized fans

At one point, I feared it might turn into one of those newspaper bingo scandals, if anyone remembers them, when thousands of people who had all won because of some competition cock-up would descend on Fleet Street to claim their dosh.

In the midst of a bit of chaos in Abu Dhabi (banks suddenly told every customer to go to ATM machines to change their pins after a security alert, with predictable results), I realised that there were several correct answers to the question: "What do Eliza Carthy's albums Red Rice and Anglicana have in common apart from having been made by Eliza Carthy and - though the answer I am looking for is topical - appeared on Topic?"

By the time I got back from the queues at the cash machines and added the "topical" clue, more than one entrant had indeed tried the same label answer. As my daughters used to say: "As if!"

But then, others pointed out the musicians who had appeared on both albums, the design work, the photography. And that both were great albums......

The reply I wanted - can I add "of course" to make it look as if everyone should have guessed? - was that both had received Mercury music award nominations. Could hardly have been more topical.

In any event, Salut! Live now has its winners. Thanks to everyone who took part; it was a healthy response and there were nine outright correct answers. For the tenth signed copy of Eliza's Dreams of Breathing Underwater album, I drew at random from answers that were clever or interesting and also correctly identified one common feature. Please be patient; I will pass the addresses to Proper Music, who kindly offered the CDs for such a competition, and the prize albums will reach winners from there.
So the winners are:

Michelle Wheeler, from Coventry, who was the first to e-mail me with the answer I wanted. Of the Mercury awards themselves, Michelle asked whether I thought Rachel Unthank and the Winterset had been robbed, and later added: "I still think The Bairns is a cracking album that deserved more....Laura Marling is a bit winsome for my liking but she has some good lyrics."

Richard Simcock, from Southport
, who cheekily asks for a plug for his 3 Monkeys Folk Club at the Southport Old Links Golf Club. Next gig: Chris Wood, Wed Nov 5 - tickets at 01704 540011 or the Sefton Arts website

Chris Sweeney, from Castle Donington
, who was perhaps in a minority, since he did not see my Mudcat link about the competition until after he had already visited Salut! Live.

Geoff Lawes, from Hull, who produced the best wrong answer - "they have in common the fact that if you add up the digits of the Topic catalogue number for each record, TSCD 494 and TSCD 539, the total is 17.... is that topical enough?" - as well the right one.

Kevin Sheils, from London E17
, who got straight to the point, and got it right, with the shortest entry

Steve Drayton, from Newcastle, which causes him to declare loyally: "Rachel Unthank was robbed." Elbowed out, I helpfully replied.

Stu Pond, from Macclesfield, who got so many wrong/right answers - both albums on Topic, photography by Tom Howard, Martin Green, Barnaby Stradling and Ben Ivitsky playing on both, design by John Haxby, "they are both great" - that he had to win something. Fittingly, he added the right answer later.

Ed Pellow, from Whaley Bridge, Derbyshire, who reacted to success as if I had lottery millions to dispense: "Excellent! I've never won a competition before"

Brian Hoskin, from Gunnislake in Cornwall, who took the hint when I modified the question.

And the bonus winner, drawn from other entries as described above is:

Keith Richardson, from Selby, N Yorks.

Come back to Salut! Live tomorrow and you'll all be winners: I have trawled YouTube for clips of some of my favourite Irish singers and musicians.


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