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Tony O'Neil of Shirefolk

reviews Dusty Diamonds by Martin & Shan Graebe

Martin and Shan are a passionate pair of ‘miners’ of traditional song, having, for many years, been involved in work with the Sabine Baring-Gould manuscripts, hence the majority of the tracks on this CD are from that source, with two Cecil Sharp and two by Martin himself.

I normally approach this sort of ‘deep tradition’ CD with some trepidation, the contents of such can sometimes be learned and earnest, to the detriment of the material therein. Not so, ‘Dusty Diamonds’! Due to a delicate touch with instrumentation and close harmonising, this CD has a light, airy feel to it making the content very approachable. I found the old stalwarts, ‘The Lark in the Morning’ and ‘Henry Martin’, both to different tunes, refreshing. The rest of the tracks are as delightful including a rousing Christian anthem, a song from Martin I defy anyone to tell from traditional and culminating in a mournful (but cheery) little ditty entitled ‘My Coffin Shall Be Black’!

I liked the presentation, with the striking artwork and an informative booklet with notes giving sources and background enough to please the aficionado.