Colin Andrews of Whats Afoot
reviews Legends & Lovers by Issy & David Emeney with Kate RiazAlthough still relatively unknown on the folk club circuit nationally, Issy and David by all accounts made a very good impression at Bideford Folk Festival this year - unfortunately I missed them! It is most encouraging that WildGoose have already recognised their talent in producing this album .
Apart from two traditional songs (less well known versions of Turpin & The Lawyer & The Molecatcher) and one tune (Rattle The Cash), all the rest of the 12 song and music tracks are Issy's own compositions, though firmly rooted in traditional style. She certainly does have the knack of finding some interesting and unusual historical topics, then marrying thoughtful lyrics with a good tune. The story of John Simpson Kirkpatrick's bravery at Galipolli, unknown in this country but a hero in Australia, is simply and gently told. The humiliation wrought on the Bristol Giant and the remarkable escape from death on the gallows of Arm Green are but two more powerful songs while Issy's own young family provide inspiration for further compositions.
It's not just the songs that stand out. The various accompaniments, from Issy on melodeon, David on guitar & bouzouki, together with Kate Riaz on cello and recorder, and John Dipper on fiddle , all add to the rounded feel that this album achieves. David has a gentle, quite high, tuneful voice (it reminded me of a singer on an old WildGoose album, Misalliance - but don't think it was the same person!) and Issy is able to put a song over well. The instrumental tracks complement the whole album perfectly.
Although originally from Suffolk, David & Issy now live in Cheddar. It is really pleasing to come across singers of quality that I haven't heard before. I only wish that I'd been a bit more conscientious in reading my Bideford Folk Festival programme !