Link to Living Tradition Homepage





JACKIE OATES - The Spyglass & The Herringbone

JACKIE OATES - The Spyglass & The Herringbone
ECC Records ECC015

The self styled ‘life affirming’ and deliberately verdantly coloured sixth solo album from vocalist and violinist Jackie Oates is another maturely sophisticated offering further enhancing her renown as a leading exponent of contemporary English folk.

Carefully crafted songs collected from archival sources cohabit with contemporary lyrics by Chris Sarjeant and Dave Webber (Magpie Lane), Iain Frisk’s word-painting to Nigel Eaton’s schottische tune The Halsway Carol, celebrating the winter solstice, and a string enriched arrangement of The Sundays’ musings on desire Can’t Be Sure. The pleasing amalgam of song and music, engineered by Simon Emmerson (The Imagined Village) and Ben Walker, features a rich array of guest musicians (Jim Moray, John Parker, Jack Rutter, Nick Hart, Chris Sarjeant, Calum Stewart, Andy Gangadeen et al.) providing polished instrumental detail to the arrangements.

Central and essential to the mix is Jackie’s clear, pure and beguiling voice, assuredly presenting traditional song ballads of the lovelorn, domestic grief, parted family, fates consequential on class and determined by drink, Cornish plunderers, the Sussex super scold Farmer’s Wife returned by the Devil, and a weaving mill song (Doffing Mistress). There’s a delightful tune setting for a translation of Irish poet Cathal Bui Mac Giolla Ghunna lyrics The Yellow Bittern and Chris’ touching title track tale of hazel haired foundling ‘gentle Joseph’. It’s a fertile landscape of material animated by a spectrum of sounds from customary Morris tune figures through to very contemporary music. Characterised overall by jaunty joyfulness, light and liveliness, timely indeed, it perhaps suitably evokes the spirit of spring.

Kevin T. Ward

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.