June Tabor At the Wood's Heart
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- by Linda Thompson ~ Won't Be Long Now ~ $14.72
- Released: October 17, 2005
- Originally Released: 2005
- Label: Topic Records
Dirty Linen - p.45"[T]hese chronicles of life's struggles are delivered in a strong, at times even commanding a lot....All is accepted, much is understood, and nothing overpowers this narrative voice..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1103 stars out of 5 - "Charged, shuddering ballads sung with simmering passion and understated arrangements..."
Song previews provided courtesy of iTunes
Personnel: June Tabor (vocals); June Tabor; Andy Cutting (accordion); Martin Simpson (guitar); Mark Emerson (violin, viola); Mark Lockheart (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Iain Ballamy (tenor saxophone); Huw Warren (piano); Tim Harries (double bass).
Audio Mixer: Mark Emerson.
Recording information: Oak Barn, Clee St. Margaret, Shropshire (05/2005).
Photographer: John Haxby.
Arrangers: June Tabor; Martin Simpson; Huw Warren; Andy Cutting; Mark Emerson; Mark Lockheart; Tim Harries ; Iain Ballamy.
You always know a June Tabor album means quality, thoughtful performances, interesting material, and wonderful arrangements -- along with that spellbinding, velvet autumn voice. For this disc she's assembled her dream team of musicians -- her usual accompanists plus Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting, and a couple of others -- to play on a fascinating collection of songs. The emphasis is on the traditional, but she hardly confines herself to pieces like "The Banks of the Sweet Primeroses," but also pieces by contemporary writers, and the jazz standard "Do Nothing 'til You Hear from Me," which is the only piece that doesn't quite work. By itself it's fine, but set alongside the relative sobriety of the folk material, its tone seems to jar a little (at the same time, her version of "Heart Like a Wheel" flows with an elegant grace). She seems most at home on the folk songs -- modern or old -- bringing a sly sense of humor to "The Broomfield Wager," for example, and a real ache to "Oh! Alas I Am in Love." As her recent box set showed, she's one of Britain's great singers, developing over the years, and this really does show her at the height of her powers, with a majestic control, and flawless backing. This stands as one of her very best albums -- which is high praise indeed. ~ Chris Nickson
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