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Vic Smith of EDS

reviews Won't You Come Away by Maggie Boyle

There are three elements among the songs that Maggie presents here. Her London Irish background is reflected in style and repertoire: the great Oliver Mulligan is quoted as a great influence. Then there are English traditional songs from her contact with the folk revival, and modern songs showing the influence of the tradition. She has that important knack of choosing really fine songs and, more importantly, songs that demonstrate the excellence of her singing voice.

Outstanding is her commanding interpretation of the difficult Irish Napoleonic ‘The Green Linnet’, the only unaccompanied song. This is not to say that the singing elsewhere is not delightful nor that she is not well served by her accompanists, for she is. Jon Boden provides some sombre fiddle and the renowned and versatile multireviews instrumentalist, Dave McKeown, enhances with his contribution. However, it is Paul Downes, Maggie’s current touring partner, present on every accompanied item, who deserves the most praise for the sensitivity of his guitar, mandolin and mandocello accompaniments.

Of the Irish songs, two more coming through Oliver, ‘Donal Óg’ and ‘On Yonder Hill’ are both well arranged to enhance lovely singing. Turning to the English songs, it is not surprising to hear ‘Linden Lea’ which has always been prominent in her live performances while the solemnity of the voice and accompaniment on ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’ suits it well. All five modern songs show great merit; she finds great emotional depth in the way she sings Steve Ashley’s ‘Once In a While’ and it is good to see other singers taking up Nick Burbridge’s wellstructured songs: ‘Old Man’s Retreat’ is the one that is heard here. A final mention is reserved for ‘Liza and Henry’, written by Maggie’s son, Joe; hardly surprising that he can turn out a good song with talented songwriters on both sides of his family.