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MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ "Beyond the Red Horizon" - Fellside FECD146

Traditional recipe - take (a) A fine voice, (b) A diverse collection of 16 excellent songs (c) A few instruments (not too many). Add a dash of Fellside and you have as good a singer's CD as you're likely to hear in a long time.

Certainly, this is an "old-fashioned" CD that could have been made any time in the past 30 years or so (apart from the high recording quality) - but what was good then is still good now. Martyn W/Read still has one the the warmest, most sensitive voices in folk music. He still picks and writes songs with skill and care. Superficially, Martyn's a bit of a crooner - gentle of voice, measured and relaxing. Occasionally, however, he launches off into a high, keening phrase that adds spice and a dramatic edge that prevents his work from being too "cosy".

This CD has all the elements that make Martyn such an arresting and much-loved folk club performer (what an old-fashioned idea.. shame on me). First, there are well-known and other traditional English songs (e.g. Banks of Claudy, Drowned Lovers). Second - Australian bush poems set to music. There are two absolute belters in this category - "Where the Brumbies Come to Water" and "Genoa". I'm learning those - so push off you lot! Finally, there are songs written by others in traditional style, such as "From Severn to the Somme".

Such is Martyn's skill in choosing and" arranging" these, along with his very well-defined style, that the distinctions between the categories are not obvious - it all sounds very coherent and correct.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.