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Gosh, here we are again at the Folk Awards, when 2007 is still so fresh in the memory – and most of the participants from last year are here again, in this 2 CD compilation of the nominees.  At the time of writing, the ceremony has taken place and the runners and riders who have succeeded are now common knowledge (but as far as I’m concerned they all deserve a gong – this collection rocks).  Unsurprisingly, Bellowhead, make a triumphant hat-trick of wins in the Best Live Act category (to go alongside their Best Group, 2007 Award).  Listening to what turned out to be the Best Original Song (Martin Simpson’s Never Any Good) makes me really appreciate what the expression ‘written from the heart’ truly means – this has to be one of the most moving stories I’ve heard in the last year.
The inspired collective, The Imagined Village, though not winners on the day, give a grand prix delivery of Cold Haily Rainy Night, and similarly not in possession of a gong, While and Matthews contribute a beautiful killer track from a recent album (The Here And Now).  My ultimate highlight is Unity (Raise Your Banners High), by John Tams and Barry Coope (winners of the Best Duo category, ahead of Show of Hands). Sadly, the promo version doesn’t include the third CD of the set, which features the Young Folk Award finalists – this was a highlight of the 2007 set and I would have liked to have been given the opportunity to heard this year’s. Not a problem – there’s more than enough prime talent on the first two CDs to thoroughly recommend the album.
Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.