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reviews The Waiting by Issy & David Emeney with Kate Riaz

The Waiting is a welcome follow-up to the Cheddar-based duoís well-received 2007 debut Legends And Lovers, following a similar pattern and providing a natural continuation of that discís charms. Again virtually all the material emanates from Issyís own pen, but I think this time the songs are both stronger in character and even more in keeping with the generally traditional feel of the musical settings, and if anything the performances themselves seem a shade more assured, while the greater consistency of the material ensures that the album flows better as a whole.

The internal distribution of roles is broadly as before, with David doing most of the singing and playing guitar, bouzouki and bodhran, Issy contributing melodeon, English concertina and vocal harmonies, and Kate providing the sublimely lyrical cello counterpoint.

The tracklisting may at first also occasion a distinct sense of deja-vu, for (in common with its predecessor) midway through the sequence we find a traditional song entitled The Mole Catcher - although itís a completely different beast: this particular West Country song was gleefully popularised by Peter Bellamy, and David here gives a zestful account of its bawdy frolics (careful with that rhyme, Eugene!). Once again though (and this is no reflection on the fine quality of Davidís singing), the two items on which Issy sings the lead are among the albumís highlights: Song For A Young Man is a simple, poignant tale of a life cut short before its prime, whereas the CDís title track, a twist on the standard ďmaid waiting on the shoreĒ scenario, is linked with that which follows (The Bristol Sailor, which conveys his feelings of deep longing for the hills of Somerset and his sweetheart). Iíd also single out The Bird Scarerís Song - a piquant, if doleful depiction of one of the less unspeakable jobs children in Victorian times were called on to do - and The Gypsy Countess, a creative prequel to the familiar Raggle Taggle Gypsies tale, sung here as a duet.

The vocal selections are interspersed with Issyís lyrical original tunes, pleasing and gentle in nature, including a delightful air she wrote for (but unaccountably didnít get used in) BBC TVís Lark Rise To Candleford series; then itís back to tradition as Jenny Lind provides the uptempo springboard for a stylish polka to the finishing-line.