Dai Jeffries of Rock n Reel
reviews Susie Fair by Maggie Sand and SandragonFrom the outside, Susie Fair looks set to be either as we as a Pre-Raphaelite sponge or a new and exciting take on traditional music. In fact, it's neither although it does mix all sorts of musical threads and influences.
Maggie Sand's classical training shines through the music and her right-hand man is Mark Powell, who boasts an impressive CV, as does wind/reed player Malcolm Bennett. Columbian percussionist Anthar Kharana completes the band.
As to the roots of the music, Shirley and Dolly Collins, Phil Pickett, Pentangle and The Oxford Waits spring to mind. There are two French tunes which are perfect for hurdy-gurdy and crumhorn but sometimes Sandragon seem to be trying too hard to be innovative. 'Cob A-Coaling' is set to a mediaeval jig and that's just plain wrong while their version of 'Dance To Your Daddy' is that collected by Sharp in Berkshire and used by Horslips.
When song and style agree everything's lovely – 'A Rosebud In June' and 'Bushes And Briars', for example, but 'The Rigs Of The Time' needs the earthiness of a Peter Bellamy rather than pretty recorders.