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RIBBON ROAD - Paper Dolls 

RIBBON ROAD - Paper Dolls 
Shipyard RRD011 

Ribbon Road, as most of us who haven’t lived on Mars this past quarter century will well know, consists of songwriter / vocals / guitarist Brenda Heslop, vocals / guitarist husband Geoff, and vocals / accordionist daughter Jill. A difference this time is that they are joined by Jill’s sister Anna on piano.

Five of these really well-crafted songs were written for Newcastle University for a project on domestic violence. The songs were inspired by the harrowing stories from the women involved. The other four songs making up the album are from Brenda’s previously self-penned catalogue. And one of them leaps out at you and towers over the album. And that is no small feat, when you consider that absolutely no song here is anything remotely near to being called a dud.

The song that I cannot get out of my head is the achingly sad It Couldn’t Last. And it is not just the song itself, but also the delivery: for I have always missed the then husband and wife duo Richard & Linda Thompson. Yet as soon as Brenda started singing it, I had found my Linda. But where was Richard? Ah, on the second chorus I had found him: Geoff came in with a harmony to die for.

This is the eleventh album issued by Ribbon Road over the last 26 years: albums that contain over 100 of Brenda’s songs. And whilst I have only ever heard three, I can safely wager there’d be none better than this little sad – yet curiously uplifting – beauty.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.