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CHARLOTTE PETERS ROCK - The Human Condition 2 

CHARLOTTE PETERS ROCK - The Human Condition 2 
Manatee Press MP08 

Charlotte’s a well-respected figure on the Chester & North-West folk scene, a performing poet and singer and songwriter. Extremely prolific too, with several projects on the go and a seemingly endless supply of stamina! Recently, Charlotte delivered a series of four Lifeboat Rescues CDs containing in total 72 original songs. Now she presents the second CD in the Human Condition series featuring “songs of life” (the first was reviewed in LT140), which tell the stories of human experience and human characteristics through factual history up to the present day. These self-penned songs are crafted in such a way that they play a key part in untangling some of the webs of untruth that have surrounded news and occurrences down the ages. The subject matter, like human life itself, is all-encompassing. Here we encounter protest, the exposure of inequalities and wrongs; industrial unrest (including Charlotte’s acclaimed song about the Peaceful Weavers Of Peterloo); and even a look into the future (Eternity Will Serve); a common approach in Charlotte’s songs is to reflect on how stories travel into history and vice versa.

Charlotte performs all the CD’s songs a cappella, and her pleasing, assured singing style is flexible in its expressiveness, well capable of portraying many moods, standpoints and individual voices, and often utilising the relevant local accent or dialect to good effect.

The impact of this collection is, however, lessened by a noticeable inconsistency in purely sonic quality (ambience, recording venue, audio reproduction) between individual songs, which can sometimes be quite disconcerting; I’d therefore recommend one listens to songs individually, rather than as a block or sequence.

The main point, though, is that the 15 songs on this CD deserve to be heard (as indeed do all those in Charlotte’s extensive catalogue). Ideally, the ultimate intention would be for all these songs to be gathered within a database, repository or archive from which interested singers may draw (but for now, copies of lyrics are available by emailing Charlotte personally).

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 142 of The Living Tradition magazine