Maddy Prior

Maddy Prior - Collections a very best of 1995-2005
Park Records PRKCD80

It is always a huge pleasure to review a Maddy Prior album, and as this is a double CD, then truly my cup runneth over.

Park Records have raided the archives and come away with the choicest cuts from the following Prior albums: ‘Flesh & Blood’, ‘Ravenchild’, ‘Arthur the King’, ‘Lionhearts’ and ‘Bib & Tuck’. Quality songs abound like ‘The Great Silkie of Sules Skerry’ and ‘Liverpool Judies’, and there are a few live concert tracks added, and these include a sublime version of my all-time favourite song from her repertoire, ‘Deep in the Darkest Night’.

I need not list the personnel accompanying her in the recording studio: some of these are real Folk A-List people, and well-known to your average British Folkie. That said, I want to mention one. I can always detect the work of Troy Donockley: his multi-instrumental talents always exude taste and a questing intellect.

This is a double CD that does not disappoint. Of course it is not one for her devoted fans: they already have the originals from which most of this CD is drawn. But it is an ideal Maddy “starter” for those Folkies who do not have her in their collection.

I’d like to end the review there, on such an upbeat tone. But alas I am duty-bound to add a slightly censorious note. And it is aimed at Park Records. Look, my dear friends, it is bad enough that one or two of your rival labels so distrust a reviewer that they shamefully stamp “Not For Resale”, on review copies. But you have gone a step further: you have used a hole-punch to desecrate the liner booklet! To show to potential re-buyers that this was a gratis review copy. Well, all I can say is that John Fletcher’s quality liner notes deserved better than such a philistine act removing some of his text.

Talk about rubbing up a reviewer the wrong way! As soon as I saw this I felt a compulsion to write a negative review. It is a tribute to the CDs’ content – but not to you, dear Park Records – that I have given it such a clear thumbs-up.

Dai Woosnam