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Joan Crump of EDS

reviews Both Shine as One by Ron Taylor & Jeff Gillett

Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett have been collaborating musically for more than a decade, and it shows. Though Ron was first and foremost an unaccompanied singer. his rich voice is enhanced and uplifted by Jeff's sympathetic accompaniments and harmonies.

The track listing is, to be honest, unlikely to set your world on fire; there are a fair number of standards (or variations on standards) here. For instance. 'Seven Little Gypsies', Edward' and Jack Caundle' are all songs with which you're likely to be familiar, and the arrangements are understated arid un-showy (the liner notes give some insight into Ron and Jeff's philosophy of letting the songs speak for themselves). But this leaves plenty of room for Ron's lovely voice to convey the emotion, passion or humour that the song requires, This is especially evident on the jaunty 'The Soldiers' Return from the Wars', and the subtly haunting `Rocking the Cradle',

Now and again a song or tune enjoys an almost ubiquitous popularity. As it happens, I'm currently holding my own competition for `Best version of John Barleycorn 2006' (winner to be announced later this year, in my sitting room). Recent interpretations have been remarkable in both their diversity and frequency, and I'm rather hoping the category might be included in the next BBC Folk Awards. I only mention this because the Noble Grain features in not one, but three different tracks here. In addition to the obligatory version of the classic song, we have a less-than-convincing farewell to drink in 'Adieu, John Barleycorn' and a hymn to the seasons in 'All Among the Barley' All are enjoyable and provide an interesting kind of thematic thread, but the latter track is one of the most enjoyable on the CD, and one that I keep returning to again and again. It encapsulates the best that this recording has to offer: subtle instrumentation, shimmering harmonies and accomplished vocal interpretation.

This is a gentle, well-crafted offering from two confident performers.