The Heart Gallery

by Hen Party

Price: £4.99
WGS311CD

Hen Party are Heather Bradford, Sarah Morgan and Alison Muir, a female folk group rooted in English traditional style, yet sparkily innovative in their vocal performance. This, their second album, contains a selection of traditional, popular and contemporary songs in a cappella harmony.



Hen Party are Heather Bradford, Sarah Morgan and Alison Muir. This, their second album, contains a selection of traditional, popular and contemporary songs in a cappella harmony.

These are songs to touch your HEART - songs about the taking, faking and making of LOVE. Most of the songs feature in the Hen Party show of the same name.

HEN PARTY is a female folk group rooted in English traditional style, yet sparkily innovative in their vocal performance. Each member brings her unique style to the group - Alison sang in a duo with Sheila March throughout the 70s before joining the famous harmony group Bread and Roses, while Sarah (also a former member of Bread and Roses) has long performed in folk theatre, and sung with various acts including Appalachian vocalist Mary Eagle and fiddle player Mike OConnor. Heather, a singer with the 70s folk/blues band Hannington Light, brings a lilting, punky edge to the Hen Party sound.

HEN PARTY got together in 1995 when they did an impromptu performance at Bracknell Harmony Day, and they havent looked back since.

Come From the Heart
Sample not available
All Things Are Quite Silent
Sample not available
Railway Widows Blues
Sample not available
Down the Long Road
Sample not available
William Taylor
Sample not available
Blanche Comme la Neige
Sample not available
Greenwood Laddie
Sample not available
Love is the Sweetest Thing
Sample not available
Somewhere Along the Road
Sample not available
How Do I Look
Sample not available
The Blacksmith
Sample not available
Chocolate Song
Sample not available
Harriet Tubman
Sample not available
Now I as to call im father
Sample not available
Keep You In Peace
Sample not available
Waltzings for Dreamers
Sample not available

Dirty Linen

(LDP)

Hen Party is both an a cappella British womens trio and slang for a girls night out. These three women sing their hearts out on a wide range of traditional and contemporary tunes, most of which are from the British tradition. Although there are melancholy songs about love and loss, the topics are not all serious, especially the thoroughly modern and throughly hysterical Chocolate Song. Theyre at their best on those tunes with a doo?wop flavor such as Railway Widows Blues, How Do I Look? and Love is the Sweetest Thing. Very entertaining.

Folk on Tap

SB

Hen Party is well known in the FoT area. They are Heather Bradford, Sarah Morgan and Alison Muir and all have folk pedigrees going back some years. They sing acappella and draw their material from traditional and modern songs, songs from a womans point of view, a dash of music hall and a soupcon of humour. `Chocolate Song and `How Do I Look, sung by a female trio need no explanation. `Love is the Sweetest Thing is the one you think it is and William Taylor keeps us in the folk category. Their interpretation of Rick Kemps song `Somewhere, Along the Road does them credit and the album ends with Richard Thompsons wistful Waltzings for Dreamers. Most of the songs feature in the Hen Party show. They are a varied and tuneful set and a good listen.

Shreds and Patches

Isobel Stone

I first listened to this C.D. with some trepidation, female voices in harmony being my least favourite listening material, In fact it sat on my coffee table, daring me to play it, for over it week. Eventually I relented, having become increasingly curious about the diversity of its content. Could contemporary, traditional, popular and music hall songs, all sung in a cappella harmony, happily rub shoulders? Would Ray Nobles classic Love Is the Sweetest Thing stick out like a sore thumb alongside the hauntingly beautiful All Things Are Quite Silent? And would the Chocolate Sony be too gooey for words? In fact would I simply chicken out of reviewing Hen Partys C.D. and send it back to Sheila?

Well, sixteen tracks and several chocolate bars later, I have to admit that this female folk group pulls the whole thing off extremely well. And what is the super glue binding these songs together? Why, LOVE of course! The entire collection tells of the taking, faking and making of it. The talented Hen Party ladies, seasoned performers Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford, have been in harmony since 1995, each having a unique style. Alison sang in a duo with Sheila March throughout the 70s before joining the harmony group Bread and Roses, and Sarah (also a former member of Bread and Roses) has performed in folk theatre acid sung with various acts, including Appalachian vocalist Mary Eagle and fiddle player Mike OConnor. Heather was a singer with the 70s folk/blues band Hannington Light, and brings a lilting, punky edge to the Hen Party sound. Their blended voices can roar raucously or peel out like silver bells. For me, the eerie Down The Long Road, by Bob Davenport, was clearly the winner, but with such wonderful songs as William Taylor; Greenwood Laddie and The Blacksmith together with Rick hemps mournful Somewhere Along The Road, and Clarke and Leighs melodic Come From The Heart, there is something on thus C.D. to appeal to everyone. However, as it is completely in a cappella harmony, you may wish to dib into it as opposed to listening to it all at once, but do listen for it is a most entertaining and innovative performance, with an eternal theme.


Tykes News

In 1995, Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford first combined voices at Bracknell Harmony Day. They have been singing together ever since. Wild Goose Records who are rapidly developing a reputation for discovering unrecorded talent show the fruits of those labours on this album.

If 16 tracks of totally unaccompanied three part harmony seems a little overfacing, read through the list of tracks. They cover an amazing range � comedy and tragedy, music Hall to contemporary songwriters, pop standards to securely trad.arr. For example, one hears a quite stunning version of William Taylor, which begins to foot-tapping mouth music and progress through the tale to a thrilling modulation at the narrative denouement: an exemplary folk arrangement. A couple of tracks later, they go all thirties to sing Ray Noble's Love Is The Sweetest Thing (taken somewhat faster than normal); Al Bowley would be in heaven � speaking of which, the CD ends with a Richard Thompson song�a wistful and fragile version of Waltzing's for Dreamers.

Like the rest of the album the closing track insinuates itself into your subconscious so that after a couple of plays (and with an album this enjoyable many more than a couple of plays are guaranteed), you will find yourself singing a long to Hen Party's arrangement.

Tykes News

In 1995, Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford first combined voices at Bracknell Harmony Day. They have been singing together ever since. Wild Goose Records who are rapidly developing a reputation for discovering unrecorded talent show the fruits of those labours on this album.

If 16 tracks of totally unaccompanied three part harmony seems a little overfacing, read through the list of tracks. They cover an amazing range � comedy and tragedy, music Hall to contemporary songwriters, pop standards to securely trad.arr. For example, one hears a quite stunning version of William Taylor, which begins to foot-tapping mouth music and progress through the tale to a thrilling modulation at the narrative denouement: an exemplary folk arrangement. A couple of tracks later, they go all thirties to sing Ray Noble's Love Is The Sweetest Thing (taken somewhat faster than normal); Al Bowley would be in heaven � speaking of which, the CD ends with a Richard Thompson song�a wistful and fragile version of Waltzing's for Dreamers.

Like the rest of the album the closing track insinuates itself into your subconscious so that after a couple of plays (and with an album this enjoyable many more than a couple of plays are guaranteed), you will find yourself singing a long to Hen Party's arrangement.

Whats Afoot

Jacqueline Patten

A few years ago I was asked to review an album by Hen Party and was immediately captivated by their style of singing: it is female a capella at its best. I was, therefore, very pleased to be asked to review The Heart Gallery, and was full of anticipation. I have not been disappointed, in fact, if anything it surpassed my expectations.

    The opening track, Come From The Heart, is a perfect start, expressing the sentiments:

          Sing like you don't need the money

         Love like you've never been hurt

         Dance like nobody's watching.

Throughout the album, they sing as if they mean it. The material is varied with traditional material represented by such songs as All Things Are Quite Silent, William Taylor, Greenwood Laddie, The Blacksmith and Blanche Comme La Neige, a French-Canadian song collected by Maud Karpeles. The humour of How Do I Look? by Claire Chapman and Chocolate Song by Martin Turner, adds a lighter note: both are sung heartily with evident enjoyment while Ray Noble's Love Is The Sweetest Thing and the music-hall song Now I 'as to call 'im father by Ada Jones endorse their versatilty, both are delightful. Other tracks include songs written by John Warner, Bob Davenport, Rick Kemp, Walter Robinson and Richard Thompson. There is one solo item, Keep You In Peace, one of Sarah Morgan's own compositions, inspired by a traditional Celtic blessing: she sings it beautifully.    

     Sarah Morgan, Alison Muir and Heather Bradford have been singing together for some time and the ease with which they blend their voices is apparent. When I reviewed the first album I had not had an opportunity to see them live. Since then I have seen them several times, as well as Sarah Morgan as a solo performer. If you have not seen them, do. Meanwhile buy The Heart Gallery.

     If you would like an opportunity to sing with Sarah Morgan, she will be leading workshops during Singin' Spring: a celebration of singing in Devon, to be held on 29th March, in Morchard Bishop(for details contact the Editor of What's Afoot).