JENNIFER CUTTING - Songs for the Night Sea Journey

JENNIFER CUTTING - Songs for the Night Sea Journey
Sunsign SSCD2004

Oh no - I feel another cliché coming on. This is a real curate's egg . good in places. The opening bars of this song cycle/tone poem made me think that I had put on my much-treasured copy of melodic-whooshy-nonsensemeister Jon Anderson's 'Olias of Sunhillow' (if you know what I'm talking about . pass the joss sticks now, please). For the uninitiated, I'm referring to the soft-prog-rock genre, where harps and synthesisers create dreamy moods and sylvan visions of Roger Dean album covers.

OK - let's get serious. This is an imaginative collection of songs and tunes written and recorded over a period of some seven years. They all cover sea-themes of journeys, Neptune, etc., using the sea as both a direct source of story and a metaphor for life and love. The cast includes Maddy Prior, Peter Knight and Troy Donockley from the Steeleye fold, with Dave Mattacks from "the opposition"! Our own much-loved and missed Tony Cuffe makes a posthumous appearance.

At its best, this is splendidly inventive and stirring music with clear and strong folk roots and some of the best voices and musicians in the business. At its worst it is melodic, beautifully recorded, lyrically-risible nonsense. The aforementioned Jon Anderson has made a nice living out of this genre, so this is a comment aimed to tell you what to expect when you buy - not a real criticism.

Alan Murray

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