Link to Living Tradition Homepage





KATE RUSBY - Philosophers, Poets & Kings 

KATE RUSBY - Philosophers, Poets & Kings 
Pure Records PRCD53 

It’s hard to believe that Philosophers, Poets & Kings is the 17th studio album from the vocal enchantment that is Kate Rusby. On this album, despite the passage of time between the first album and this, the jewel-like vocal dexterity remains intact. The distinctive musical brand is typical of the Rusby stable, but purists might bemoan the slow creep of the electronic Moog synthesizer into the mix. Personally, I think the musical development and maturity is a delight; to retain a fresh innovative presence, an artist should and must develop. This album delivers on so many levels. The production values have been closely monitored and every aspect has been considered, producing a superlative audio sound that is balanced and sophisticated throughout. The vocal line is always to the fore but not at the expense of the talented musicians who create the atmospheric body and subtlety concerning the emotional sentiments of each track.

Drawn from a variety of sources, the choice of material is all given the Rusby treatment. A Noel Gallagher song, Don’t Go Away, has found its way onto the CD, and out of place it is not! If anything, the track is a rendition of a “fabulous, beautiful song” that captures the human condition. Crazy Man Michael by Richard Thompson and Dave Swarbrick is given a treatment that is ethereal and totally captivating. Kate’s own songs are confident and powerful and whilst the music is joyful, underlying the lyric there is often a pervading melancholy. Until Morning is deceptive but gentle in its tenderness. Touching the heart strings, Halt The Wagons concerns a terrible pit disaster in 1838, it’s a true masterpiece but almost unbearable to listen to.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this CD reaches a whole new audience for Kate Rusby, and if you are already a fan, you will certainly not be disappointed.

John Oke Bartlett


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine