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The Definitive Collection - Martin Carthy
Member Name: blackbob
The Definitive Collection - Martin Carthy
Date: 16/02/04, updated on 16/02/04 (63 review reads)
Advantages: Great Music
I love music,in it's many forms it is the guitar that really does it for me.With over 350 albums on vinyl and 100's on CD and tape you will find most of the famous heavy rock/metal bands of the last 30 odd years.It is the bluesy rock sound of AC/DC,Led Zeppelin and the Stones that I love the most so it was with a heavy heart that a few years back I found myself in our local music emporium without a clue what to buy.You see there was little on offer that I found interesting,I had all the Hendrix,bought all the Zep and the contemporary Oasis-bred guitar bands of the day were frankly as tedious to me as their role model themselves.
Scanning through the rock/pop sections and heavy metal sections it was a case of - mm yes got that,and that,no thanks heard it it's crap!!I was after something totally different.Easy listening - no!!!I'm not looking for a cure for my insomnia.Country and Western - aaghhh!!!!!over my dead and mutilated body.Folk - hold on,not somethimg I'd ever really thought of but I'd watched Jools Holland and his Bob Dylan 60th birthday show and although it had done nothing to raise ol' Bob in my estimation,I know so many people love this knarly old tunesmith but I just can't bear to listen to him and that awful croak of a voice that he sings with.There was however a folk guitar player/singer called Martin Carthy who was 60 as well on the show and for the life of me cannot remember what song's he played,this was a year or two later,I remember thinking he was the best thing on the show.On finding a CD called the collection at £9.99 thought that it was worth a risk and on scanning the back for the track listing noticed 'Scarborough Fair' which had always been my favourite Simon and Garfunkel song so bought it.
The Trees They Do Grow High
The Bloody Gardener
Poor Murdered Woman
The Bold Poachers
Lowlands of Holland
Streets of Forbes
Polly On The Shore
Cold Haily Windy Night
Released on Topic Records Ltd 1999.
The blurb on the back of the CD trumpeted his place in the history of English Folk music and listed his career with many bands of the folk/rock scene.Runrig and their ilk were all I knew of the folk/rock genre and were especially not my kind of music so it was with a certain feeling of dread and regret that I put this CD into the autochanger in the boot of my Cav debating whether to go back across the car park and change it,bought as it was in a moment of madness or to play it on the drive home.Well I'm glad to say I took the adventurous route and slotted it into the Kenwood and closed the boot ready to head homeward bound.
All the songs are traditional folk songs from all over Britian and a few from New Zealand and Australia re-interpreted by Carthy,it was his reworking of Scarborough Fair that S&G based their version on.Having heard the original though it is just the singer and his guitar,S&G's version just does not compare sounding over produced and contrived.A few of the songs feature a fiddle player called Dave Swarbrick who was/is apparently the finest exponent within the genre.The simple production of this CD make it sound immediate and live giving it a very personal feel which fits with the overall listening experience.His is truly a remarkable guitar sound weaving and twisting about the vocal line and when Dave Swarbrick accompanies him the fiddle takes on a solo quality as dramatic and in-tune with Martin's singing as any Hendrix tune.
It makes for a sparse sound,accoustic guitar and solo vocals with the occaisional fiddle playing and entirely different to all that I usually listen to but highlights the man's obvious talent and
musical ability.The songs are mournful,sorrowful,exulted,genuine and all fantastic to my electricity-jaded ears (I'm not about to trade in my Strat or have bought an accoustic yet though).Ranging in subject matter from press-ganging to trans-polar exploration,from murderous pruners to the pitfalls of poaching this a truly eye-opening experience for a hairy rocker with wonderful imagery like the impish and curiously yellow wife enchanting fellows who intice the Lord's wife away from her feathered luxury to run amock by the riverside.It reminds us that there was a rich vien of homemade music before the advent of rock and roll and the bang,bang,bang techno and rap/hip-hop crap so beloved by little folks these days.Once upon a time the peoples of this most green and sceptred of isles were able to play instruments and sing songs without encouraging swearing for effect and killing coppers or the delights of being a gang member.Historically based,there are songs about two brothers being hung for the same crime and outback outlaws also the stealing of a young girl's 'maidenhead' by a false soldier.
While I can't see this being to wide appeal for it takes a degree of suspension of that modern taste in loud banging chewing gum/wallpaper style music for a time of more melodic,tuneful and unaccompanied fare but this CD has won over at least one pleasantly surprised listener and though it won't ever convert me from my heavy rock music it has made me a fan of folk music and this CD holds a pride of place among my blues/rock collection.I've now bought several of his albums along with other folk luminaries and folk/rock bands and am ever grateful to this CD for opening up a whole new genre of music to me.
I would recommend this CD highly to anyone though I have to admit with albums like this and also Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and the like I do have a tendancy for guitar music both broad and old despite my references to heavy
rock.Therefore it would be false of me to expect a lot of people to agree with me on this album and wouldn't expect many favourable comments if everyone went out and bought it on my say so but if you like folk music you'll love this one and if you find yourself stumped one day unable to find anything interesting in your usual range of musical styles,be brave and give this a go.
Don't blame me if you do buy it and you hate it for wild changes in buying habits can sometimes result in dis-satisfaction