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SALLY HORNER "Peculiar Flowers" Peculiar Flower Records PFRCD28

This is a very pleasant record of Sally Horner singing a mixture of popular, traditional and a few self-penned songs. Sally has taken the brave step of recording the songs unaccompanied (apart from some sound effects and additional voices on some tracks).

I have to say that her vocal influences appear to be more from popular contemporary singers rather than the tradition. This is not necessarily a weakness but some of the traditional songs do suffer from a lack of commitment. Sally handles the more modern songs, such as "What A Wonderful World" and "Count Your Blessings" (the Bing Crosby favourite), very well considering we are used to hearing the songs accompanied, often with full orchestra.

Her singing on the more traditional songs, such as "The Water is Wide", "Bushes and Briars", "She Moved Through the Fair", is pleasing but suffers from attention to the vocal sound rather than the direction of the words. This is a fault with many of the current popular singers outside of folk music. The result makes for musical wallpaper rather than having the song grab attention, more so when the safety net of accompaniment is missing.

All this said, this is a charming and pleasing record.

Nick Caffrey

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