Eddie Upton of EDS
reviews Floating Verses by Mary Humphreys & AnahataThis is a charming and delightful CD. If you read the list of contents you might be tempted to think this is a recording of lots of old favourites, but the CD lives up to the artists boast that they ...specialise in finding unusual variants
of songs and tunes from the English tradition and take great delight in putting them back into circulation.
When you listen to the quality of the singing and playing, that delight is there for all to hear. Mary has a very clear and uncluttered voice. She sings straight at you. She has plenty of vocal power at her disposal but is in full control of that power. She sings like the old singers. She tells the story and you know that while she is singing she has a very clear image in her mind of the song and its characters.
The accompaniments are terrific and I particularly love Anahatas cello. The instrument blends so well with Marys voice that there are times when the cello almost becomes another human voice. On some tracks the accompaniment is provided by cello and banjo, seemingly a bizarre combination and one that might allow for little subtlety, but this recording gives the lie to that. After hearing Mary and Anahata I dont think I could think of anything more natural. I cant imagine why nobody else does it.
I dont like singling out particular tracks, but they have taken one song (I Wish I Had Never Known) from the book EFDSS book Still Growing. As one of the editors of that book, and having recorded the song myself, I have very clear ideas about how it should be treated. It is a strange sensation to listen to someone else performing your choice of song, but I have to say I think they have got it absolutely right. Cecil Sharp and Emma Overd (the collector and source singer) would have been just as pleased as me.
I dont think everything is right about the record and sometimes the melodeon and concertina sounds are just a little too in your face, but that doesnt deter me from giving the CD 5 stars and a hearty recommendation.