Dirty Linen - 6-7/99, p.49
"...features riveting interpretations of material old and new....Carthy's genuine, naturally dynamic, powerful delivery - vocally and instrumentally - is simply stunning on one of the top recordings of 1998..."
Personnel includes: Martin Carthy; Eliza Carthy (fiddle); Chris Parkinson (harmonica).
Recorded at Panda Sound, Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire, England. Includes liner notes by Martin Carthy.
Personnel: Martin Carthy (vocals, guitar); Eliza Carthy (fiddle); Chris Parkinson (harmonica).
Audio Mixers: Martin Carthy; Tony Engle.
Liner Note Author: Martin Carthy.
Recording information: Panda Sound, Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire (1998).
Photographer: Tom Howard.
Arranger: Martin Carthy.
Given the late '90s success of Waterson:Carthy and Martin Carthy's seemingly endless schedule of live appearances, it is surprising that Carthy had time to enter the studio at Robin Hood's Bay to lay down an album of his own. But we are glad that he made the effort, because SIGNS OF LIFE is a thoroughly satisfying collection of some of his favorite songs. On the traditional front, he revisits "The Deserter" to restore a superior last verse unavailable to him when he first recorded the song in 1961.
Perhaps the best traditional arrangement here is "Sir Patrick Spens," one of four tracks on which daughter Eliza plays fiddle. She is also on the Bee Gees' "New York Mine Disaster, 1941" an inspired selection which works perfectly here. Other popular songs covered include "Heartbreak Hotel" and Hoagy Carmichael's "Hong Kong Blues," with Chris Parkinson on harmonica.