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ANNE BRIGGS - The Time Has Come

ANNE BRIGGS - The Time Has Come


Such is the eerie starkness of Anne Brigg's haunting voice that when, on Steve Ashley's "Fire And Wine", she delivers the opening lyrics "Winter's coming, we live a shorter day" you can almost feel the chill of winter itself creeping down your spine. Briggs may sometimes lack the smoother, honeyed vocals of her counterparts of the time, such as Sandy Denny or Linda Thompson, but she is able to imbue the songs with a potent authenticity that pierces right through to your soul.

This 2007 crisp-sounding re-mastering of "The Time Has Come" is of course a re-issue of Briggs' legendary 1971 album.  My promo copy arrived in a plain slip-case with only a track list to accompany it - no biography of the artist, no history of the recording, no reproduced artwork - a little disappointing for such an important album, and perhaps indicative of the relative neglect of minority genres by major labels.  One hopes that the copies finally making their way into the hands of music enthusiasts are a little more complete.

Briggs demonstrates a totally unaffected approach to the material, be it with her arrestingly pure vocals or her straight-forward yet nonetheless entrancing guitar playing -- both of which resemble a British-sounding Joni Mitchell of the same era, particularly the shrill end of their vocal registers! The focus of her song writing has a distinctly British feel to it, where evocative references to time and nature abound. The collection consists largely of self-penned material but closes with a memorably poignant rendition of Lal Waterson's "Fine Horseman."

On the title track, somewhat ironically, Briggs sings "Oh babe don't you know, the time's come for me to go, don't you think of me no more" - within a couple of years of the original release of this recording she was to vanish from the music scene altogether, favouring the quieter life of farming in the Scottish Hebrides.  The fact that Sony/BMG have chosen to re-release this recording some thirty-six years later suggests that many have not heeded the final part of that particular lyric - and why would they? This is a most beautifully timeless and personal recording that stands the test of time and is likely to do so for many more years to come.

Mike Wilson


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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.