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CHRISTINE KYDD "Dark Pearls" Culburnie CUL 115D

Christine Kydd has a lovely, expressive voice. She exhibits her fine singing style and guitar playing in this, her latest recording. She is accompanied by Lorraine Jordon on backing vocals, bouzouki and percussion.

Subtitled 'from the carrying stream of Scots traditional ballad and song', she fittingly begins with a hauntingly short version of "Lord Gregory". The bulk of her material is mined from the traditional vein; the one exception being Iain Sinclair's stirring song "King's Shillin'". She cleverly pairs "Jenny Nettles" with an old favourite, "Fause, Fause". In this way, she gives voice to the jilted woman's point of view, and gives a strong contrast to the gossipy attitude of "Jenny Nettles". A song to raise the short hairs on the back of your neck is "Capernaum". A lament-like tune and equally dark lyrics are combined in a slightly spooky arrangement for voices alone.

In a jollier mood is "The Rovin' Ploughboy". Its simple setting suits it perfectly. It's easy to sing along and, when it ends, you can't help wishing there were a couple of more verses to it. If you read the fine print on the back of the booklet, Kydd encourages the listener to sing the songs and to look for the lyrics at the Culburnie website ( When I checked (early May) I couldn't spot them. It's an interesting idea, to publish the lyrics online, but it does limit access. I wonder why (cost?) they were not printed in the liner notes to begin with. For those of us born outside of Scotland it would be a boon to be able to see the words and, perhaps, a bit of 'translation' of the dialect. It's a beautiful recording, alternately chilling and cheery, well balanced, exquisitely sung and altogether enjoyable.

Elaine Bradtke

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