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NIAMH PARSONS - The Old Simplicity

NIAMH PARSONS - The Old Simplicity
Green Linnet GLCD 1232

Please forgive the cliché, but Niamh Parsons could sing extracts from the telephone book to the theme tune of Coronation Street and make it sound good. She has a voice quality and a skill in interpretation and phrasing with which few singers are blessed. So - this is a very nice CD indeed. The title refers, I assume to the fact that the songs are presented in a fairly stripped-down form, without some of the more lush accompaniment that was part of Niamh's first CD ('Loosely Connected'), for example. With much unaccompanied singing and some very spartan guitar arrangements, it's closer in feel to her 'Blackbirds and Thrushes' and 'In My Prime' albums than it is to 'Loosely .".

I'm not sure what the "Old" in the title is about, tho', as many of the songs are relatively new . this is not a trad-dominated collection. There are, in fact, some great songs here, including Alastair Hulet's affecting, but harrowing 'He Fades Away' and 'The Song of a Drinking Man's Wife', which is also rather grim, underneath its pretty tune. For some reason, however, I have to confess that this collection doesn't grab me by the ears and heart in the way that most of Niamh's other work has done. I can't put my finger on why and you will probably disagree. All I can say is that Niamh Parsons is one of my favourite singers, with a great voice and a masterful way with a song . and that this is a very good Niamh Parsons CD.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine.