June Tabor -At the Wood's Heart

June Tabor -At the Wood's Heart
Topic Records - TSCD557

June Tabor is one of the great performers of traditional song but it is not without reason that she was recently described in UNCUT magazine as 'a great singer beyond genre'. 'At the Wood's Heart' contains traditional material, certainly, but the fine piano of Huw Warren gives much of this collection of songs a cloak of darkness and jazz.

'Ah! The Sighs' is extraordinary, with Warren's sparse piano and an occasional 'punctuation mark' from the double bass of Tim Harries. The all too brief appearances of the saxophone of Iain Ballamy create a tension upon which June seems to thrive, and Mark Lockheart is no slouch in the horn department, either. I'm not sure we need another cover of Heart Like A Wheel or Ellington's Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me, but if June feels the need to experiment with these songs as she continues her journey to find out just how good she can be, well, who am I to criticise? With her old 'partner-in-crime' Martin Simpson's help she does a fine job on Bill Caddick's The Cloud Factory. The final track, Lie Near Me, is worth the price of the CD on its own. The goosebumps lasted for a week!

Phil Thomas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.