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FINEST KIND "Lost in A Song" Fallen Angle Music FAM02CD

Finest Kind are Ian Robb, Sheldon (Shelley) Posen, and Anne Downey, of Canada. I remember meeting the two men some twenty-one years ago when first I sang at the famous Fiddler's Green Club, Toronto. They were then, as now, strong singers able to lead or follow, ever ready with a harmony. Ian, a graduate of the old St. Albans club, sang English traditional songs, Shelley had a penchant for music-hall and Sacred Harp in about equal proportions. They sang with skill and affection for their material, thereby answering my first requirement of any singer. All these years later they still do it, and their colleague Anne Downey matches them all the way.

This is their first CD and it's a corker! Seventeen songs ranging from "Banks of the Sweet Primroses" to the Kipling/Bellamy "Pilgrim's Way" with dips into the Carter Family, Bruce Phillips, and Phil Tanner's repertoire in between. They have a great time with "The Night Pat Murphy Died" and so does the listener. In "Fa-So-La" they pay tribute to the Sacred Harp interpolating a section of "Showers of Blessing", a delightful track, and their "Gower Wassail" with its neat harmonies, surging dynamics, and exuberant finish, would make Phil Tanner cheer.

Are you getting the impression that I like this album? I do. It's damn good. It's not flashy, the singers get the best out of their song without trying to show how clever they are, while the instrumental backings are simple but effective. The impression I gain is that three singers have carefully picked out a set of songs they value and are happy to let them cast their own spell. Exemplary! We could do with them over here for a while, they would refresh our folk scene greatly. While they're about it they could bring The Double Decker String Band and Tom Gibney with them. I'd like that.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 21 of The Living Tradition magazine.