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Private Label MATR18001 

Over the course of two very assured albums and many compelling live performances, Jimmy and Sid have established themselves as a must-see folk duo. Their steadfast and committed musical partnership gains much of its strength from a shared world-view arising both from parallel careers in environmental work and from a common interest in the place of traditional crafts and sustainability in today’s world.

Many A Thousand, their third album release, delivers a further well-integrated collection of traditional and original material voicing the duo’s concerns and deeply felt conscience. The sense of togetherness and shared vision is absolute, and perfectly illustrated in their intense vocal and instrumental empathy. Jimmy and Sid’s two voices, both persuasive and complementary in solo/lead mode, also work stunningly in harmony, as on a cappella disc closer, The Seasons (a setting of Joseph Campbell’s poem) and the opening verse of Working Chap (the Scottish bothy ballad famously expanded by Martin Carthy). Jimmy and Sid’s exceptional musicianship is all the more effective for its subtlety – softly judged and sensitive banjo flecking, wonderfully lyrical fingerpicked guitar and occasional concertina, augmented by guest violin, viola, double bass and brushed drumkit. Superlative accounts of traditional fare (Reedcutter’s Daughter, Poacher’s Fate) sit well with latter-day compositions by John Conolly (The Last Ploughshare) and Liam Weldon (Via Extasia) and their own thought-provoking musings, notably The Tide (a reflection on the incessant flow of people) and Hope And Glory (an indictment of misplaced nationalism), while Hawk’s Call is an incisive reimagining of the spiritual No More Auction Block positing a world without military conflict.

Many A Thousand is a mature artistic statement – and an essential acquisition.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.