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Mary Humphreys of Mardles

reviews Won't You Come Away by Maggie Boyle

This CD was recorded by the performers in several locations, primarily at WildGoose Studios, and cleverly stitched together to make one of the most beautiful and intricate recordings I have heard in a long time.

Maggie Boyle ( singer and flautist) has been a regular visitor to folk clubs in East Anglia and will be known to many of our readers. Paul Downes is well known for his collaborations with some of the greatest singers and performers including Mick Ryan ( a song by him is track 11). Jon Boden on fiddle is one of the movers and shakers of the folk world. Steve Tilston, is here playing an arpeggione (a fretted cello-like instrument), Dave Wood accompanies on resonator guitar and Dave McKeown on woodwind plus melodica & wind synth.

There are several tracks of traditional songs , not surprisingly considering Maggie's introduction to singing from the illustrious Oliver Mulligan. Donal Og and the Green Linnet are directly from Oliver and indirectly On Yonder Hill from the singing of Geordie Hanna. Maggie's delicate and intelligent vocal decoration enhances the ballads, pointing their tragic and monumental structure. Just listen to the Green Linnet to hear how such a majestic ballad should be sung. It is no wonder these songs have lasted for generations.

Many of the other tracks have friend and family connections - The Lament for John Doherty, part of the sole purely instrumental track was written by Maggie's aunt Margaret McGinley,the second tune is Maggie's own composition and the third written for her father, Paddy by Charlie Lennon. Her son Joe's song Liza & Henry is a modern and inventive take on the Hole in my Bucket.

Of all the non-traditional tracks my favourite is Linden Lea (music by R Vaughan Williams) which I have heard murdered all too frequently by so-called “trained” singers. I am sure that RVW would have loved this version sung by Maggie's sweet voice in such a relaxed and natural style.

Maggie shows, in this album, that she is equally at home with recently written songs and tunes as she is a pre-eminent exponent of traditional song. It is refreshing that she is not averse to accompaniment for such stately songs as Donal Og and Moorlough Mary. With such musicians as collaborators Maggie could hardly go wrong, except in the minds of the most dedicated purists.
If I didn't have this CD already I would go out and buy it!