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LINDSAY STRAW - The Fairest Flower Of Womankind

LINDSAY STRAW - The Fairest Flower Of Womankind
Private Label LS02

Lindsay Straw is a young New England-based singer whose first album was warmly received in TLT. Her follow-up is a generous 62-minute beauty which will have great appeal for lovers of traditional ballads – in particular the ones where the woman comes off best. The album’s strapline is Songs Of Feminine Triumph.

Her singing does justice to a strong theme. It is fluid, bright, beguiling, natural and relaxed. Only the fear of adjectival overload stops me there. The Maid On The Shore, learned from Frankie Armstrong’s version, is a stunning example: the phrasing works perfectly with the laid-back rhythm. In the album notes, Lindsay references Lizzie Higgins and June Tabor as well as Frankie. The songs are not Americanised versions, they are Anglo-Scottish given a twist by the American accent. You’ll be familiar with many of them. Brains beat brawn in The Outlandish Knight (minus the talking parrot), Sweet Lovely Joan and Blow Away The Morning Dew. In a happy ending version of Geordie (from which the album’s title is taken), the lady saves her man. In an ambitious two-part Young Beichan, the lady saves her man then makes him keep his promise to wed her. In William Taylor, the wronged Sarah Jane settles for double homicide.

Lindsay accompanies herself on guitar and bouzouki. She is supported on some tracks by members of the Ivy Leaf band: Daniel Accardi and Armand Aromin (fiddles), Benedict Gagliardi (concertina) and Owen Marshall (guitar). Most of the arrangements work well, and the band adds a strathspey and reel to The Crafty Maid’s Policy.

On the album cover, Lindsay rides on horseback towards us, as cool as any Lovely Joan. It would be great if she could get all the way over here, because her music certainly deserves to be better known.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.