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David Kidman of fRoots

reviews Far Distant Stars by Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner

Every few years, this personable duo reliably comes up trumps with another cleverly configured sequence of songs thatís well-balanced to a fault, every item glittering with interpretive insight, sparklingly well-sung and simply and effectively arranged for their two voices in harmony, some items also sporting a modicum of instrumentation (choice of English concertina, guitar, recorder). Far Distant Stars is very much the-mixture-as-before, adhering to the tried and tested Heraud-Turner format whereby top-drawer examples of traditional and contemporary song of a loosely Ďseriousí nature more or less alternate (almost predictably, it must be said) with lighter, humorous, even frivolous songs. The latter are mostly self-penned (taking the form of wryly observational thatís-life topicalsocial commentary), with others drawn from the music-hall tradition.

The serious songs are particularly well chosen and appointed; the disc kicks off with
a compelling treatment of The Bold Grenadier; continues with evocative Graeme
Miles opus How The Cold Winds Do Blow; an insightful take on Moth (from the pen of Anne Lister); Song For Tom written by Pat in memory of Lynneís late, and much-loved, youngest son; Paul Davenportís haunting and darkly brooding lullaby Iron Angels; and, best of all, a standout setting by Lynne of an extraordinarily powerful WW1-era poem by Ruth Comfort Mitchell (He Went For A Soldier). Lynne and Pat also make a credible fist of the Rare Bird hit Sympathy.

Itís been the case in the past that some of Lynne and Patís light-comedy or novelty numbers have palled on repetition, but those on this latest CD donít seem to share that fate to quite the same extent (although they will always naturally work best on stage, and some audio and verbal gimmicks may irritate). The topics tactfully tackled are obvious from the song titles: Trolley Dating, Secrets, Mr Double-Barrelled and Stress Incontinence (the latter pairing a hysterically apt aria-cumballad-cum-lute-song setting with a mournfully po-faced vocal delivery).

With Far Distant Stars there can be no doubt that Lynne and Pat again prove their status as a class act on the WildGoose roster.