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TRACEY CURTIS - Picture Postcards

TRACEY CURTIS - Picture Postcards
Irregular IRR06

When you listen to a CD and immediately begin searching the web to see if there's a chance of catching the artist live, then they've done something right.  A huge personality emerges from this recording, and whilst it took me a couple of songs to get used to the singer's discursive, almost conversational style, I was soon listening with great interest and admiration.  Curiously, although the opening track is a very fine song, it was to my ears one of the weaker singing performances, but once into her stride, Tracey Curtis reveals herself to be a very good singer indeed, with a clarity of diction essential to the delivery of her subject matter.  Essential, because this is political songwriting of the most direct kind.  Definitely a child of the 80s, Ms Curtis cites Poll Tax Marches and Miner's strikes as turning points in her political awakening, but this is no lament for lost causes and evaporated solidarity. The coruscating If The Death Penalty Were An Olympic Sport and the sweetly satirical Letters To Mr Bush address issues of the here and now, while the knowing The Vegan Police raises a wry smile of recognition.  Alongside are songs of motherhood and family, leavened with a self-mocking honesty and a single-minded sense of, well, love.

The arrangements are sparing, almost spartan, but the recording has a very agreeable tight acoustic sound.  Determinedly "right on" as we used to say in the 80s, this CD might ruffle a few feathers, and none the worse for that.  I haven't heard anyone quite like Tracey Curtis before, but try imagining a mixture of Rory McLeod and Christine Lavin and you have some of the flavour.  And I've a feeling her live shows would be something special…

Nick Keir

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This album was reviewed in Issue 73 of The Living Tradition magazine.