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FRANCY DEVINE - An Ownerless Corner Of Earth 

FRANCY DEVINE - An Ownerless Corner Of Earth 
Private Label POD002 

The overall impression left by this double CD offering is that we are in the presence of an outstanding singer who has a grasp of the intricacies of Scots and English singing as well as that of his ancestral Ireland. The recording had, coincidentally, arrived in the same post as one featuring Martyn Wyndham-Read, and the similarity of their singing styles and voices is remarkable (see especially CD 1, track 11). Added to this is an outstanding bunch of collaborators, spearheaded, as with Francy’s previous CD, by the redoubtable Steve Byrne of Malinky.

The 25 tracks include three of Francy’s poems – one of them an account of the unlikely (but true) happenings at a wedding reception held in a northern working men’s club – as well as a well-balanced mix of traditional and contemporary songs, some of the latter by Mr Devine. For me, his Dark And Slender Boy held echoes of The Bonny Labouring Boy, and his airs often had a convincingly traditional feel, which indicates a great familiarity with the sources of our music.

Every now and then there were tracks taken at a very relaxed pace – one might even say slow – but they seemed to work well; although it has to be said that a hunting song like The Hound Of Granemore feels better at a hunting pace.

There are a good number of really interesting songs here (his own Magaidh Rua is beautiful), and the 28 pages of notes really add to the enjoyment – despite a slight hiccough with the track numbering. This is another one for my regular listening list.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine