Link to Living Tradition Homepage





NAOMI BEDFORD - A History Of Insolence: Songs Of Freedom, Dissent And Strife

NAOMI BEDFORD - A History Of Insolence: Songs Of Freedom, Dissent And Strife
Private Label DWR003

Naomi Bedford has come a long way from the age of 6 until now, singing the songs her mother taught her. Inspired by Shirley Collins and Hedy West, she has developed her own style which is at times reminiscent of an English Emmylou Harris. In 2011, Naomi won an award for her last album The Weeping Willow and has obviously decided not to stop there.

This album was born, as so many good ideas are, in the kitchen, while trying to do something else entirely. When inspiration strikes there's nothing you can do but follow it.

In this collection you'll find a good mix of historically based traditional songs, but also some of Naomi and her partner Paul Simmonds’ own work. They clearly know their stuff and have some amazing musical friends to make their wild musical aspirations come true.

As well as some searing bluesy and Appalachian style songs of the workers and the downtrodden, there are some of their own, more poetic lyrics. Fields Of Clover could be construed as a love song, but it's still mixed with the pain of a hard life. The Wild And Charming Energy could be about a person, or a philosophy or a god.  And in between there's the old Gypsy Davy, born again in a tingly new skin. You have to listen a few times to the lyrics of some songs to make up your mind about the meaning of them – but a good song gives you that personal space.

Naomi's voice is not to be ignored. I can only describe it as a sugar coated knife edge - it cuts through whatever you think you were going to do while listening to the album. There's no way you can do anything else but listen when Naomi sings. Paul Simmonds, as well as providing instrumental backing, does occasional backing vocals which softens the sound.

A whole cast of great musicians makes this album sound very well thought through and the mixing is done in such a way as to keep everything sounding very acoustic and well spaced - not smoothed over too much. There's a touch of an old way of life in the way Naomi sings, like someone with a heart remembering the past, while beating energetically into the future.

Annemarie de Bie

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.