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Chris Coe "A Wiser Fool" Backshift Records BASH CD51

There are some performers on the folk music scene who always seem to give of their best whether delivering traditional or composed songs and music. Their performance comes across as skilled, informed, highly listenable and, most important, totally enjoyable. Chris Coe is such a performer.

The CD 'A Wiser Fool' is a good example of what I mean. It starts with an up tempo 'Hind Horn' (one of the classic adventure ballads) and takes us through traditional and self penned songs and tunes each with its own particular style and approach. Classic ballads ('False Foodrage', 'Love Heneree', 'Georgie') sit beside lively tunes (the delightful 'Peeler Creek Waltz') and traditional songs of joy and tragedy, with some pieces composed by Chris for theatrical productions. It is one of those records that grow with repeated listening as new facets of the song or tune are revealed; you wonder how you missed them the first time through. The imaginative arrangements and the variety of the music and songs together with fine performance ensure that the record is never tedious or boring. John Adams, Pete Coe and Vic Gammon give solid and skilful accompaniment.

In her sleeve notes Chris tells us that this record should be seen as retrospective of 35 years of solo repertoire; I think it stands as a strong statement of her excellence. Highly Recommended

Nick Caffrey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.