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FRANKIE ARMSTRONG "Lovely on the Water" Fellside FECD151

The main part of this is a re-issue of Frankie's 1972 debut album, 'Lovely on the Water', the remaining 7 of 20 tracks coming from 'The Valiant Sailor' (1973) and 'Room For Company' (1972) and most welcome they are, second time around. Frankie has been one of the best singers of the revival, female or male, from her earliest days, as these vintage recordings show. She has the ability to express the story of a song dramatically without imposing herself upon it. She also has the ability to adapt her voice to the emotional mood of the song without sounding phoney. Formidable talents both, and both are on display in this superb programme. For evidence listen to her spooky "Unquiet Grave", the saucy "Crafty Maids Policy", or "The Two Sisters", with the "swan swims so bonny -o" refrain. Or indeed, listen to any track on the album. It's so great to have these around again. If you couldn't get them the first time, do it now.

Roy Harris

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