Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest
reviews All in a Garden Green by The Askew SistersEmily and Hazel Askew are among the many up and coming younger acts in the English folk scene. One of my criticisms of much of the younger set has always been that, while most of them are unquestionably superb musicians, the song side of the tradition is quite often at best given half hearted recognition and at worst weak rendition.
This is definitely not the case with the Askews. The opening track Adieu to Old England exemplifies Hazels strong vocals with Emilys close harmonies as well as some nifty musicianship. Emily plays fiddle and cello and Hazel melodeon with a lovely, lively lilting vibrancy and enthusiasm that immediately becomes infectious.
There are some very well crafted and entertaining performances of a number of well known traditional songs including The Old Virginia Lowlands, High Germany, The Banks of the Sweet Primroses and Three Drunken Maidens. However, it is Hazels fine a capella solo performance of The Lovers Ghost and their sensitive duo performance of Fare Thee Well, My Dearest Dear that stand out from the rest of the better known songs. The tunes, many of them from the Playford collection, are also very well performed with a surprising maturity. I particularly liked the linking of Unfortunate Tailor to The Shaalds of Foula to both of which the girls added some interesting variations including a subtle change of tempo at one point. The lively
All in a Garden Green is the tune that is used for the title track of the CD.
Erudite and informative sleeve notes confirm that the lasses know well and respect our wonderful English traditional music; couple this with a very attractive cover designed by Hilary Bix from Bideford and you have the perfect marketing package with musical content to match. Highly recommended by this old un!