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ELIZA CARTHY & NANCY KERR "On Reflection" Mrs Casey Records MCRCD 1003

To quote from the box, "This is a compilation of material from Eliza Carthy & Nancy Kerr, The Shape of Scrape, Steely Water and Scalene plus two new unreleased tracks from Eliza Carthy and a new live recording from Nancy Kerr". This gives the collection a sweep of just about a decade, during which time our heroines have developed from a pair of singing young fiddlers into two highly respected, much sought-after and extremely successful artists. "On Reflection" illustrates how this has happened with admirable succinctness - Nancy moved from the ideal duo with Eliza to the ideal duo with James Fagan, while Eliza continues to combine traditional and contemporary forms to stunningly creative effect.

Chris Wood described so aptly the songs and tunes from their duo-days as a "balance between abandonment and control". The fiddles snap and crackle from unison to harmony and back while the voices mesmerise without ever losing the story - case in point on the last track as they swing from a perfect sung harmony to an equally perfect fiddle harmony - surely the finest ever example of changing bonny light horsemen in mid-stream…

Steve Heap had the vision and faith to make the original albums, and to him be the credit for this fine retrospective - it does just what it says on the box.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 48 of The Living Tradition magazine.