Link to Living Tradition Homepage





LAURA SMYTH & TED KEMP - The Poacher’s Fate

LAURA SMYTH & TED KEMP - The Poacher’s Fate
Broken Token Records TOKEN002

How refreshing to listen to a no-nonsense CD simply dedicated to the performance of the song. There is no attempt to hide the folk material behind clever, for the sake of being clever, elaborate arrangements here. The Poacher’s Fate has clear production values which make the ‘song’ the main element of the feast. However, whilst some of the tracks are unaccompanied, many of them are supported by a variety of instruments that add to the whole in a very satisfactory manner - the instrumental element always supports the fine singing and has been carefully considered, so that the instruments are an embellishment rather than an excuse to show off the players’ mastery and expertise with their chosen instrument.

Laura Smyth has a fine, bell like, voice and one which she uses to great effect and with great honesty throughout the CD; here, the listener is transported into invigorating clarity and meaning. Every generation rediscovers and cherry pick’s these old songs from the tradition, and Ted Kemp and Laura Smyth’s choices have produced a CD of both familiar and unfamiliar material which is a joy to listen to; the musical accompaniment is subtle, the harmonies tight, and the arrangements are just enough to enhance the song. In many ways the style of production harps back to earlier singers from the 60s and 70s, and there’s nothing wrong in that.

In my view, it takes courage to include the song The Wild Rover but, of course, with their inimitable style they have brought a fresh approach to this familiar song. Murder In The Red Barn would have us feel sorrow and compassion for the murderer. This made me smile, as only in folk music could such a position be taken.

If you like your folk music stripped bare of all pretension, superbly delivered, with unfussy arrangements, you won’t go far wrong with The Poacher’s Fate.

John Oke Bartlett

Secure On-line mailorder service
Many CDs we review are available from The Listening Post.
Check to see if this CD is available.

The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.