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BELLA HARDY - Postcards & Pocketbooks 

BELLA HARDY - Postcards & Pocketbooks 
Noe Records NOE12CD 

It’s not easy to categorise Bella Hardy – over the years she’s adopted and adapted many different musical styles, and this compilation, subtitled The Best Of Bella Hardy pays testament to her versatility and her consistently fine singing voice. She’s won awards and plaudits from the mainstream press as well as from the folk world, which remains her declared musical home.

This double CD takes 25 tracks from her nine CDs, podcasts and a couple of re-recorded numbers and adds two previously unrecorded tracks, so there’s something here for anyone who enjoys her performances. All have been re-mastered, so the sound quality’s excellent. It’s all very smooth and professional – her music’s been described as “folk-art pop”, and that seems to me to be a fair summation – but for me it lacks immediacy and engagement with the listener. And yes, I know I’m a boring old reactionary. I did quite enjoy listening to it, but as background rather than being grabbed by it, and I was intrigued by her musical journey and development over the last decade or so.

I think you’ll love this if you’re a fan, and I’m sure it will sell well to a broad cross section of people. She’s an excellent folk ambassador to the wider world of the listening public.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine