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NICK HENNESSEY "pebble and bone" Private Release wfm000729

Do not judge a book by its cover: or more precisely, when this CD arrived at my door, I was not overly impressed by its presentation. With it lacking a plastic CD case, it looked for all the world like the freebie CD one sometimes finds inside a Sunday supplement. But this was deceptive: it proved a pleasant surprise.

Hennessey delivers 52 minutes of largely well known traditional songs, accompanying his confident and pleasant voice with some very accomplished harp playing. Two guest artistes make a brief appearance: Stuart Gordon on fiddle and Phil Beer on guitar/vocals. Well-known though the songs are, HOW I would have loved an insert booklet with his comments on the various tracks. But, alas, that is a pleasure we can only now await from his next album. (And I am sure there will be more in the pipeline.)

The stand-out cut has to be that gloriously bawdy ballad "Stonecutter's Boy". Many of us first encountered it sung by Anne Briggs on that wonderful Bert Lloyd-inspired LP "The Bird In The Bush". It is praise indeed when I report that Hennessey's version does NOT make one pine for the sublime "original".

Dai Woosnam

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