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VARIOUS ARTISTS - INTUITION - "Intuition" - Fat Cat Records FATCD002

Hard on the heels of Pat Shaw and Julie Matthews' album on the same label, comes this offering from those two plus Kathleen and Rosalie Deighton, Kathryn Roberts and Kate Rusby. Taking in as it does accompanied ballads, reels, songs by Julie and cover versions of material from the likes of Tracy Chapman and Nanci Griffith, it's an ambitious project that could easily have fallen flat on it's face. I'm delighted to say, though, that not only does it avoid that fate, it's making a late run as serious contender for my "album of the year" slot. (O.K. - I give in. I want to marry these women and have their babies).

The line-up changes from track to track: there are two instrumental sets from the Deightons; Kathryn sings 'Polly Parker' unaccompanied and adds her piano to her vocals on three others, backs Kate with flute and vocals on 'Bonnie Light Horseman' and provides piano for an excellent version of Mary Chapin-Carpenter's 'The Moon and St. Christopher'; Pat and Julie do a handful of Julie's songs and provide backing vocals on the Deightons' version of 'Blue Old Saturday Night' (another Matthews composition) and, well, you get the picture. Everybody's in there somewhere, no two tracks are the same, but there's a connecting thread that runs through the album's fourteen numbers.

Great stuff from start to finish. If I didn't already have this, I'd go out and buy it tomorrow.

Jim Welsh

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