Jo Breeze of EDS
reviews Legends & Lovers by Issy & David Emeney with Kate RiazOriginal songs from Issy Emeney, inspired by traditional music, make up the bulk of this album, with two traditional songs -'Turpin the Blade', and 'The Mole Catcher' (from Baring Gould's Songs of the West. Issy and David both sing on the album and also play: melodeon (Issy), guitar and bouzouki (David).
Sensitive accompaniment from John Dipper on fiddle and Kate Riaz on cello adds depth to the music. One of the most interesting songs, picked up and performed by John Kirkpatrick, is 'The Skies Turned Grey', a recollection of the foot and mouth crisis. Many songs are inspired by the south west - Patrick Cotter, the Bristol Giant of the late 1700s, or John 'Babbacombe' Lee (this song is in the duos repertoire but is not included in this album - Doug Bailey). Also included are lighthearted songs inspired by their family, and the struggles of getting young children to bed.
Issy and David are clearly interested in unearthing unusual stories-'John Simpson Kirkpatrick', originally from South Shields and now an Anzac hero, was a stretcher-bearer in Gallipoli; using a donkey, he carried 300 men from the battle line to the beach for evacuation until he was killed. Anne Green's gruesome story and dramatic 'return' from death makes for an interesting song accompanied by David's bouzouki; 'The Bristol Giant' tells the story of eight-foot-tall Patrick Cotter, originally from Kinsale in Ireland.
This is a very honest recording with minimal production, from people who obviously enjoy making music together. It's not going to set the world alight, but is a very pleasant listen with some nice original songs