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HANNAH SANDERS & BEN SAVAGE - Ink Of The Rosy Morning 

HANNAH SANDERS & BEN SAVAGE - Ink Of The Rosy Morning 
Topic Records TSCD610 

There is no doubting the superb musicianship and beautiful singing that this pair produces, and the CD is an enjoyable listen as a result. Their playing is tight and precise, and the arrangements created for the 10 tracks work well. Hannah is blessed with an excellent voice, and Ben’s vocals and harmonies form an apposite complement to her.

The songs themselves come from a variety of sources – from Hannah’s experience of the American tradition and from British singing, and the selection also includes a couple of more contemporary numbers, one of them composed by themselves. Intriguingly, they sound more ‘at home’ with the North American songs, but their approach to the English side of the repertoire was interesting, adding a mid-Atlantic veneer to old friends like Lovely Joan and Sweet Nightingale. Maybe that’s a bit of a risk when you’re dealing with such familiar material, but perhaps it will give a fresh perspective to some listeners. The final track, River Don’t Run, was for me the most memorable, and was sung with the most commitment.

And therein lies my only doubt about this recording; the pursuit of musical perfection has had a cost in terms of the commitment to the stories within the songs – the storytelling element, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, this is an enjoyable album, and I’ll look forward to their next offering – with (hopefully) a more narrative feel to the singing.

John Waltham


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine