Craig Morgan Robson - Hummingbird’s Feather

Craig Morgan Robson - Hummingbird’s Feather

Reiver Records RVRCD10

Since their formation as a trio in autumn 2003 Moira Craig, Sarah Morgan and Carolyn Robson have released two previous albums - “Peppers and Tomatoes” and “Stranded” - and have been continually performing – as regulars at folk festivals, workshops and clubs, not to mention their inspiring work with choirs and publishing song books. This new album carries on the acapella harmony singing of traditional songs – 14 in all - with arrangements by the group. While remaining firmly in the tradition, the choice of songs is diverse – from New Hampshire and Missouri and across England and Scotland .

Some will be familiar to most followers of folk – ‘The Lark in the Morning’ and ‘Claudy Banks’ among them – and always with a beautifully clear delivery, their voices weaving in and out of each others’ – it seems with great ease - but of course this is the product of years of working together.

Two songs have a particularly music hall flavour - the Northumberland-sourced “The Sandgate Lass on the Ropery Banks” – which could only be sung in a strong accent, as performed here by Carolyn. And also in “The Drowned Lovers”.

As beautiful as each individual voice is, it is only - in the opinion of this reviewer – when they are singing in full flow harmony (with occasional individual lead on verses) that the group reaches the highest heights. The three very distinctive accents make for richness in harmony – and also bring an authenticity to performances such as the Scottish “My Bonny Moorhen” on which Moira’s voice comes through particularly strongly – and later leading on “It Was All for Our Rightful King”. Sarah’s voice features prominently throughout – and takes the lead on and’ Lord Bateman’, giving this well-known song a lovely airing.

Gentle instrumentation is occasionally used in the form of piano, guitar and cello – always sensitively supporting the voices and never resulting in a cluttered production.

In many ways this CD follows on in the same style as the previous albums – and that is a very good thing since I can think of no other acapella group who could better deliver songs such as these. Informative sleeve notes provide background sources of all songs.

George Dow

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This album was reviewed in Issue 84 of The Living Tradition magazine.