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Jon Bennett of Shire Folk

reviews Won't You Come Away by Maggie Boyle

The first surprise is that this is only the third solo album from Maggie, despite the fact that she's contributed to no fewer than 14 CDs over many years with the likes of Steve Tilston and John Renbourn and is a firm and much respected fixture in the UK folk world. Reared in the London Irish community back in the 1960s, she's obviously steeped in both the Irish and British traditions. She performed most of the music used in the film Patriot Games and Legends of the Fall. I also remember her fine flute playing on Steve Tilston's Swans at Coole and, I believe, on some of the earlier John Renbourn offerings. Anyhow, here she is again in splendid voice, still with her flute as well as a harmonium humming in the background.

The album is a mix of traditional and contemporary songs. Some are familiar territory Linden Lea, The Green Linnet, The Trees They Do Grow High while others, especially the tunes, are a pleasant surprise. There's even a tune by a certain M.Boyle slipped inside a set of three. For the most part, the songs and tunes are played with only minimal accompaniment or none at all. I'm pleased to see Mick Ryan's Christmas in No Man's Land given a first airing. Here, as elsewhere on the recording, we hear the sensitive guitar playing of Paul Downes. It is followed by a lesser known traditional song, On Yonder Hill which features Dave McKeown playing a wind synth. This prompted me to look into what this instrument is a fascinating surf through YouTube and beyond! She finishes with Linden Lea using the well know Vaughan Williams air, and a reminder of just how exquisite these 19th century lyrics by William Barnes are.

And so to the verdict: a definite thumbs up for this album, both for the choice of material and for the execution. And, perhaps above all, for the undiminished vocal talents of Maggie Boyle whose depth of experience is firmly stamped on all that she touches