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BILL JONES "Turn to Me" Boing 0008CD

Bill Jones shows every sign of being a confident and determined young woman, and this determination has already taken her from a career in teaching to working full-time in the music business. 'Turn to Me', her first CD, on which she is joined by Simon Howarth on guitar and cittern and Saskia Tomkins on fiddle and cello, seems designed to showcase her various talents. In addition to providing vocals, piano, accordion, flutes and whistles, all the arrangements are hers, and some of the lyrics.

Most of the material on this album is well and safely chosen; "The Handsome Cabin Boy", "The Wee Croppy Boy" and other traditional songs provide the mainstay of the collection; they are competently arranged and performed and the sets of tunes move along well. Less successful are tracks such as "Mist Covered Mountains" by John Cameron, on which her English accent intrudes, and which in any case sounds far better in Gaelic, and Buffy Ste Marie's "The Universal Soldier", which lacks conviction.

It is obvious how much time and energy has gone into this album and I'm aware that adverse criticism is not welcome at the start of a new career; but I have to say that Bill Jones' voice lets her down on some of these songs, sounding distinctly thin at times - maybe it would have benefited from a little more treatment at the sound desk - and her diction and phrasing were sometimes poor. This is a pity. I caught snatches of her live performance on the club stage at Brampton Live last year and thought she sounded much better. If, as it would seem, she is set on being a success - and she does have a lot of work coming up over the summer - perhaps she could do worse than employ a greater degree of self-criticism, and a strong producer. She might also, given the obvious talents of her accompanists, have moved over and allowed them a little more of the limelight. At the moment she risks being labelled self-indulgent, whereas a simple 'could do better' might be the thing to settle for at this stage. I'd imagine, with a few years under her belt and some expert guidance, she could become a considerable name on the folk scene.

Carole Baker

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This album was reviewed in Issue 39 of The Living Tradition magazine.