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FINEST KIND "Heart's Delight" Fallen Angle Music FAM03CD

This is the second recording from "Finest Kind", the Ottawa based trio of Ian Robb, Ann Downey and Shelley Posen. Although this could really count as the second and a bit, since Ann Downey and Shelley Posen also appeared on Ian Robb's excellent album, "From Different Angels". In the tradition of the trio's previous recordings this is an accumulation of fine songs, some fairly old and some fairly new, including material written by Shelley Posen and Ian Robb.

The band's inbuilt mix of old world and new world cultures explores both the contrasts and similarities of songs and singing styles. Among those credited as "sources" or "by way of" are Norma Waterson, David Parry, The Delmore Brothers, Louis Killen, Keith Marsden, Any Old Time String Band, Francis J. Child, Martin Carthy and Hank Williams. The songs themselves are as diverse as their origins but sit well together in the final mix. "Brig Fair", "If You Can't Get Five, Take Two", "A Sailor's Life", "Who Will Sing for Me", "Jack Ashton" - all differing in theme and content but linked by arrangements that bring out the heart of each song. This is further demonstrated in Shelley Posen's, "No More Fish, No Fishermen" and Ian Robb's powerful, "Homeless Wassail". Both strong songs of protest against resigned acceptance of the homeless or unemployed "ways of life" in which a growing number are finding themselves trapped.

Three rewarding singers, rich harmonies, a vocal sound that'll raise the hairs on the back of your neck and a batch of good songs make this as good a deal as you can get on a CD. No news as yet of any forthcoming UK appearances but "Finest Kind" are high on my "must see" list.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 33 of The Living Tradition magazine.