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Mike Everett of Mardles 2007

reviews Dead Maid's Land by Paul Wilson & Marilyn Tucker

Even though, as I write this review, there are still a few months of 2007 left, this CD gets my vote as album of the year. This is despite the fact that it is a remixed reissue from almost 10 years ago. I missed the original release so Im particularly pleased that its out again. This is an album of traditional songs from Devon and Cornwall, all collected by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould in the late 19th century, one of this countrys most prolific collector of folk songs. This selection has been chosen by Paul Wilson of the Wren Trust and is performed by a host of fine singers and musicians, including Paul himself, Chris Bartram, Tim Laycock, Marilyn Tucker and Martin Graebe.
Many of the songs will be recognisable, but probably in rather different versions. The title track is a variant of The Seeds Of Love; the opening track, Blue Muslin, will be more familiar as The Keys Of Canterbury, and there are versions of The Drunken Maidens, Golden Vanity and Georgie, as well as other less familiar songs. The song that is most different from the North East version that I know is Herrings Heads with its hill farming images rather than fishing symbols.
So, why should it be the CD of the year? Simply, because Im playing it more frequently than any other album and enjoying listening to it. And you will too.