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KATE RUSBY - Angels & Men

KATE RUSBY - Angels & Men
Pure Records PRCD44

I’m mad about Christmas, and I’m one of those people who like to start listening to carols as soon as December comes in, so I was pleased to see this, Kate’s fourth Christmas CD, coming through the post. It’s mostly traditional carols, or well known Christmas songs (with a few originals from Kate and others) given slightly different settings by Kate and her band, and her usual brass boys help give it a bit of Christmassy shimmer in places.

Some of these songs are done as we know them and some have been given the Kate treatment, with added bits here and there. We have a swingy Let It Snow, an electric atmospheric Paradise (with a slightly altered refrain), Chris Sugden’s tongue-in-cheek The Ivy And The Holly, and a beautiful See Amid The Winter Snow. We also have a Christmassy remake of Big Brave Bill from her last album, Life In A Paper Boat. Possibly my favourite though, is Kate’s own Let The Bells Ring – a bit less festive sounding but instantly catchy, and reminiscent of the more modern style of that last album, possibly due to the influence of husband and producer Damien O’Kane.

It’s very hard to criticise this album – everything is perfect; the singing, the accompaniment, the recording quality. It’s all top notch and just as you would expect of Kate. However, although I can’t quite put my finger on why, somehow as a Christmas album I feel there is something missing. Perhaps it might benefit from a bit more of a variation in feel as even the jauntier numbers here come across as a little subdued at times. But it is classic Kate, and her army of supporters will love it.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.