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THE BEST OF MADDY PRIOR "Memento" Park Records PRK MC 28

The album "Memento" is subtitled "The Best of Maddy Prior". It isn't. The best of Maddy Prior would have to include some of the classic tracks from her Steeleye Span days and even from the earlier Summer Solstice album which she made with Tim Hart. "Memento" consists of sixteen tracks which Maddy co-wrote with Rik Kemp, plus - for no clear reason - two tracks from the Silly Sisters album which she made with June Tabor.

The first thing that strikes you, listening to this album, is the sheer professionalism of it. Every track is well arranged, every accompaniment is appropriate, and the album is expertly balanced. Of course the quality of Maddy's voice has never been in doubt. One quibble about the words; can you really compare the break-up of a relationship with events in Nazi Germany (Commit the Crime)?

No doubt after Steeleye Span, Maddy felt the need to break new ground and on this album she presents a wide range of styles and moods. But for me the two most successful tracks are the two which are closest to her roots - "Mother and Child" which has clear echoes of "The False Knight on the Road" and "Pater Noster" with its echoes of "Gaudete".

Howard Baker

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This album was reviewed in Issue 12 of The Living Tradition magazine.