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This new CD from the dynamic Derbyshire duo shows no diminution of their talent or the wide range across which these are displayed.  Derbyshire roots are defiantly asserted with the opening track, the anthem of Ashbourne’s traditional Shrove Tuesday football game.  To be honest, I thought this a bit of a weak opening on first hearing – it’s not an especially distinguished song – but it grew on me over repeated playings as it started to take its place in the overall balance of the album.  So if you find yourself likewise unimpressed, persevere; the album as a whole is well worth it.
Two sets of charming French tunes, three songs from different writers, all excellent, together with a development (from Pete Castle) of two verses of a local version of a classic song of sexual innuendo extended to reach the parts that these songs always reach; the Boar’s Head Carol, a set of Derbyshire tunes and, to round off, a set of two modern tunes, one of them Sarah’s tribute to her mother.  Lucky mother to receive such fine gifts.
Each listener will find their own favourite tracks amongst this well-balanced mix, depending on part whether they are musician- or singer-orientated.  My favourite is track 5: The King of Rome.  It’s a great song in the first place, and June Tabor introduced many of us to it in a pretty definitive way many years ago.  But to hear Sarah sing it is to hear the song itself speak out in its own voice, I reckon.  For one thing, she’s a Derbyshire lass singing of the place she knows (and with a beautiful, pre voice well suited to the song’s understated purity).  For another, she learned the song direct from the man who wrote it, Dave Sudbury.  I don’t think you’re likely to hear a more definitive version than this; it would be worth buying the album for this alone – and then having the pleasure of discovering all the rest of the delightful music on it as a bonus.
On Shining Wings confirms Doug and Sarah’s place as serious stars in the new generation of traditional musicians.
Corinne Male

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.