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Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?

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GUEST,Unicorn 29 Jul 03 - 05:34 PM
George Papavgeris 29 Jul 03 - 05:50 PM
andymac 29 Jul 03 - 05:55 PM
s&r 29 Jul 03 - 07:11 PM
artbrooks 29 Jul 03 - 07:16 PM
HuwG 29 Jul 03 - 08:03 PM
michaelr 29 Jul 03 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,KB 30 Jul 03 - 02:52 AM
nutty 30 Jul 03 - 04:04 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jul 03 - 04:11 AM
GUEST,cittern 30 Jul 03 - 04:20 AM
VIN 30 Jul 03 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Santa 30 Jul 03 - 04:37 AM
The Barden of England 30 Jul 03 - 04:54 AM
zanderfish3 (inactive) 30 Jul 03 - 05:02 AM
Greycap 30 Jul 03 - 05:13 AM
GUEST,monk 30 Jul 03 - 05:15 AM
VIN 30 Jul 03 - 05:25 AM
The DeanMeister 30 Jul 03 - 06:17 AM
Bassic 30 Jul 03 - 06:44 AM
Ralphie 30 Jul 03 - 06:58 AM
VIN 30 Jul 03 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,Skipjack K8 30 Jul 03 - 07:42 AM
A Wandering Minstrel 30 Jul 03 - 07:50 AM
black walnut 30 Jul 03 - 08:26 AM
George Papavgeris 30 Jul 03 - 08:37 AM
VIN 30 Jul 03 - 09:28 AM
Dave the Gnome 30 Jul 03 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,cittern 30 Jul 03 - 10:54 AM
Noreen 30 Jul 03 - 11:47 AM
Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull 30 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM
Bassic 30 Jul 03 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 31 Jul 03 - 06:28 AM
Sooz 31 Jul 03 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 31 Jul 03 - 12:03 PM
GUEST,polly 31 Jul 03 - 01:14 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Ed 31 Jul 03 - 02:06 PM
ToryJane 31 Jul 03 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,cittern 31 Jul 03 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 31 Jul 03 - 03:10 PM
Les from Hull 31 Jul 03 - 03:33 PM
Folkiedave 31 Jul 03 - 03:50 PM
VIN 31 Jul 03 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,cittern 31 Jul 03 - 04:51 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 05:22 PM
GUEST,polly 31 Jul 03 - 05:32 PM
akenaton 31 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM
GUEST 31 Jul 03 - 05:56 PM
Les from Hull 31 Jul 03 - 06:02 PM
akenaton 31 Jul 03 - 06:08 PM
raredance 31 Jul 03 - 07:41 PM
izzy 31 Jul 03 - 07:45 PM
VIN 01 Aug 03 - 03:55 AM
GUEST,cittern 01 Aug 03 - 05:42 AM
the lemonade lady 01 Aug 03 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,polly 01 Aug 03 - 10:58 AM
old git 02 Aug 03 - 05:29 PM
okthen 06 Oct 03 - 05:38 PM
GUEST,Sibelius 06 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM
michaelr 06 Oct 03 - 08:58 PM
GUEST 07 Oct 03 - 02:32 AM
okthen 07 Oct 03 - 04:03 AM
GUEST,Santa 07 Oct 03 - 05:21 AM
smallpiper 07 Oct 03 - 06:04 AM
Guy Wolff 07 Oct 03 - 08:52 PM
Beverley Barton 10 Oct 03 - 08:46 AM
michaelr 10 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM
GUEST,eliza c 11 Oct 03 - 01:37 PM
Guy Wolff 11 Oct 03 - 05:30 PM
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Subject: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Unicorn
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:34 PM

I have heard different views regarding this "folk artist". What do all you mudcatters think?


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:50 PM

My personal view: She has a good voice and presence, and has an excellent band. She is "packaged"/manufactured (in the sense that she is being "groomed" by the record companies and media), and that puts some people off. On the other hand, she draws public, and especially younger audiences, which has to be a good thing, so good luck to her.

In the context of bringing young people to folk and perhaps generating the next Folk Revival, I see her as the "starter", but not the "sustainer". The latter will consist of people like Sam Pirt's The Pack - the ones that make it because of their will and energy alone.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: andymac
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:55 PM

Personally I find her a bit "light".
She's very popular and good luck to her for making a successful career but I'm afraid she's not quite my thing as I find most of her material too lacking in substance. If she draws people into fol music then good, but already I have heard people use her as their source for content and style, which can only dilute the folk/traditional element even further.

Andy


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: s&r
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 07:11 PM

Kate is a charming young woman with a lifetime in and around folk music. We put her on stage as a fourteen year old with tremendous presence and a few nerves. She is from a musical family, plays fiddle guitar and keboard at a high level. We love her personality and music - she is unashamedly Yorkshire, and proud of her accent.

She has hardly been groomed by the Media and Record Companies - as far as I'm aware her father and other family members act as agent and record her themselves.

Her pedigree in Folk Music is impeccable, and doesn't warrant the pejorative quotation marks in the opening of this thread


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: artbrooks
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 07:16 PM

I have a couple of her CDs and enjoy listening to her. She may not be goldplated "trad," but my experience has been that most of those who are, are unsuccessful. Good sound, spirited presentations.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: HuwG
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 08:03 PM

Purely as a snide aside, here is a link to an earlier thread, I snogged Kate Rusby last night, which has plenty of reviews, not really germane to her musical talents.

I can remember her singing five years ago as the second act to a local band in Glossop, "Still Life". Everyone thought that the sound was excellent, and that she deserved to be much better known. Still, local loyalty meant that we were miffed when she did the interview on Mike Harding the next week and "Still Life" weren't invited. (Oh, well, different genre anyway).

<bitch>Naturally, her voice lends itself to plaintive tales of miners' wives waiting anxiously at the pithead for news of their hubbies (or awaiting their sweethearts' return as collections of bits and pieces after having been conscripted to fight against Napoleon).</bitch>

However, her range is far broader than that, and is very evocative of many aspects of country life. The coalfields around Barnsley are as rich in industrial and folk heritige as any to be found in Britain, and she has used those roots to great effect. May she live long and prosper.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 08:21 PM

She's cute as a button, and I love her voice, her choice of material (yes, even the rewrites and semi-trad compositions), her band, and her stage presence.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,KB
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 02:52 AM

She sings and arranges beautifully (I love the rhythms she interweaves), and she comes across as a really nice bubbly person. She is an inspiration, and I can't see that that would dilute folk/trad. I hope she continues to be successful and that she continues to do what she wants to do.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: nutty
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:04 AM

I first met Kate Rusby at Holmfirth Festival some years ago when she was mainstaging with Katherine Roberts .... dancing with Black Adder ... and in her spare moments helping her Mum in Mrs Rusby's Kitchen.

Now as then, her folk career is a family affair.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:11 AM

I think she is great but I couldn't eat a whole one.

Plusses - All the above:-)

Minuses - Would not consider coming to Swinton Festival because it is too small:-(

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:20 AM

Simply superb. She deserves her success and I am inspired by the fact that she has achieved so much with a set up which is basically a family run business.

I am constantly refering to the "Kate Rusby model" when discussing career-related decisions with my partner Julie.

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:22 AM

I've seen Kate in concert on her own and with the band a few times and have thoroughly enjoyed the gigs. Her versions of songs like 'wild goose shanty' are bazzin. I've previously mentioned on a previous thread how the Spinners came in for, what i considered, to be totally unjustifiable criticism in the past from the 'orthodox' folk clique cos of the way they 'made it' professionally. I agree with s&r that the quotation marks in the opening thread are unwarranted. Folk music has been presented in all kinds of ways over the years from the String Band, Spinners, Fairport, Pentangle, Steeleye Span. I thnk Kate is just following this tradition as did Maddy Prior, Sandy Denny, Jaquie McShee, Shirley Collins, Eliza Carthy &c. I certainly don't believe Kate is being 'groomed' and 'packaged' by the record industry (if i'm not mistaken, does'nt she and hubby have their own studio?) i think she and her husband are too intelligent to allow that to happen.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:37 AM

She's a lovely personality with a beautiful voice. Live, she's wonderful.

On the less positive side, I don't think that she comes across as well on a CD, perhaps because there is a tendency to a certain sameness in treatment/sound. Not the first singer about whom such comments could be passed, of course.

She has been criticised for her arrangements of certain standards - hence a few jokey comments about Folk Police in her act! Some of the hoarier male shanty singers dislike her Ranzo - I think the original will survive. However traditional a stance you care to take, her treatment of other standards such as Arran Water and Recruited Collier is immaculate.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: The Barden of England
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 04:54 AM

Here we go again, the same old 'Traditional' hobbyhorse. I love what Kate Rusby does, the way she sings, her musical skill, and her interpretations of different songs. Who decides what is 'Traditional' and how it should be sung? I'm a 58 year old, so not one of your young folkies, but I see nothing wrong in what she does, and I wouldn't dare set myself up as the mans who knows what 'Traditional' is. In classical music each conductor has their interpretation of a symphony or whatever, so why shouldn't we be allowed our interpretations of our favourite folk songs? Good luck to you Kate, not manufactured nor groomed, just bloody good!


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: zanderfish3 (inactive)
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:02 AM

She does not yet have the depth and presence of a great folk singer but in time she will develop into one of the ' greats ' indeed she gets better with every recording.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Greycap
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:13 AM

Can't join in the media excitement on this lady, I find her dull, with no depth to either solo playing or singing.
However,I thoroughly enjoyed her back-up singing with Tim O'Brien on a fairly recent tour. That is maybe her strength - my humble opinion.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,monk
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:15 AM

So - where is this archetypal exemplar of folk music to which we should all aspire? Of course there shouldn't be one - so instead of slating Kate for what she is not, we should appreciate and enjoy what she is.

Nobody can be the "be all and end all" of folk (God forbid!), and nobody is obliged to please everyone at once. Kate is Kate, and that's good enough for me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:25 AM

Well said John Barden, quite often in 'classical' music you see a description of a piece as a 'variation on a theme of....' so why not in folk / contempory music? If kate (with and without her band) can bring traditional music/song to a wider audience as has Eliza Carthy then may she and her interpretations live long and prosper! (to quote the pointy-eared one)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: The DeanMeister
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:17 AM

Knowing that Kate often contributes to threads on here, I think she is likely to be upset at some of the comments on this one.

Kate is a lovely girl, with a beautiful voice, and has enjoyed great success through hard work. I have met her on several occasions, and any suggestion that she is "packaged by the Industry" are totally inaccurate.

Good luck to you, Kate.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Bassic
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:44 AM

See thread "The Pack at Warwick". (Blue clicky anyone? Sorry)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Ralphie
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:58 AM

Kate R?
Brilliant!
Nuff Said..
Ralphie
PS. Let's see the negative contributors to this thread,do better....I can't.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 07:34 AM

Hi Dean/meister
I should'nt think Kate will be too upset by the criticism (hope not, anyway - it goes with the job as they say) and there's nowt wrong with criticism so long as it's constuctive. Anyway she'll know from the number of attendees at her gigs how well she's liked and respected so carry on kate, all is well....see u at the Lowry in September!.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Skipjack K8
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 07:42 AM

She is the only artist from the folk idiom that I have shelled out for the whole catalogue. And she's a babe. And she likes me, the saucy minx. Ditto Dean and Ralphie


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: A Wandering Minstrel
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 07:50 AM

A fine performer with an electrifying voice. If I have a criticism it is that she is sometimes slightly overshadowed by John McCusker who is an even finer fiddler.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: black walnut
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 08:26 AM

John is her husband - where's the competition there? Anyway, I heard Kate (and John) at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival and thought she was great. I enjoy her CDs too. Because of her, I've learned the songs Bold Riley and Botany Bay - both have choruses and are really nice to sing at song circle.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: George Papavgeris
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 08:37 AM

I owe a clarification, because some of my comments/terms were taken wrongly; perhaps my fault in using them.

By "packaged"/"manufactured" I do not mean that there is no substance to Kate herself or her music; indeed I have not expressed such an opinion anywhere in my message. I DO like what she does and how she does it. Nevertheless, having climbed to a certain level of recognition through talent and hard work, she is now (and I mean recently, not years ago) receiving industry attention and promotion.

Does she deserve it? Undoubtedly. Is she the only one who deserves such attention/promotion? Surely not - I already mentioned The Pack, and there are other young "acts" that deserve equal attention from the industry, yet they have not received it to date. Not to mention older significant contributors to folk music that have had to make it all on their own, and some died penniless.

The industry has no heart, it isn't supposed to. It wants to rekindle interest in folk music in order to boost record sales perhaps. And it chooses the acts that will best spearhead such a move. Clearly, Kate fits the bill, where perhaps others don't.

But I argue that true folk music - the one that's played in pubs and waterfronts and is shared in the making by ordinary folk - is not going to survive because of the record companies, or big concerts and big "names" alone. For that it needs the clubs, the floorsingers and the many equally worthy acts that try to make it on home-labels and with MP3s over the internet. That is my view, though some (many? most?) might disagree.

So no slight was ever intended towards Kate and her work - and if my words were taken as such, I apologise. The slight was meant for the "system".


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 09:28 AM

Point taken el greko. Some good points. The 'system' or 'music biz' in our society has always existed primarily to make money and profit for its shareholders, the music is secondary.

However, to 'go professional', be successful and make a living will, i would suggest, probably mean at some point having to accomodate and/or use the 'system' whether for concert promotion, bookings and especially media coverage. Perhaps once you become well established and financially sound enough you could go it alone , particularly in the field of music that Kate and others specialize in. The trick is probably to use the system where necessary and not let it use (or abuse) you. I would think Kate is as aware as anybody of the importance of the roots of the music she grew up and was surrounded with. However, we live in a capitalist society which permeates every aspect of our lives so it's hard to avoid the 'biz' at times.

People like Roy Harper have been fighting it for years!!


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 10:17 AM

Co-incidentaly, just in email from Steve Rusby -


New album ³Underneath the Stars² now available from katerusby.com


I think I may just visit there..:-)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 10:54 AM

From various interviews I've heard, it would appear that Kate and her family have managed to do very well without "the system". This is one of the reasons I admire her so much.

Ploughing your own furrow is rarely the easy option, but it does give you control (over quality as much as anything else) and can avoid the kinds of problems aired here recently about certain of the "mainstream" folk/acoustic record labels.

And I remember a classic response from her when asked in a radio interview about why they decided to do their own thing ... "We're from Yorkshire. We don't trust anybody"!

Best regards

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Noreen
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 11:47 AM

http://katerusby.com/
I think Kate is wonderful.

Sleepless is very special to me, as I got my copy at a turning point in my life when I started getting back into music, and played it over and over. Lovely stuff, done in her own way while still thoroughly rooted in the tradition.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Rt Revd Sir jOhn from Hull
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 12:10 PM

hello,I,think,she,is,good
but,not,as,good,as,Eliza-Carthy
[eliZa,Carthy,is,really,nice].john


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Bassic
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 12:49 PM

Thanks for expanding your point EG. The original postings just came across as a bit dismissive, which from what you have now said, was not intended. Good points Vin and GUEST,cittern.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 06:28 AM

Guys, guys, guys - please! Like all 'What do you think of....?' or 'Is so-and-so better than so-and-so?' discussions it's a totally pointless exercise. One man's meat is another man's poison.

But personally I think she's one of the best things to hit the folk scene for many a year (as well as Kathryn Roberts, Emily Druce, Belinda Sykes, Kerfuffle - an amazingly talented young band, Hannah James - a gobsmackingly talented member of Kerfuffle and a budding star in her own right) et al............................

Just my opinion.

Johnny


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Sooz
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 11:24 AM

John, I think you mean Miranda Sykes. (A star indeed)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 12:03 PM

Shite!! I knew Belinda sounded wrong but me poor tired old grey cells couldn't figure it out. Another in an ever-lengthening list of Senile Moments! (Sorry, not PC but true).

Miranda - if you're out there please forgive me?

Johnny.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,polly
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:14 PM

Since she is my bugbear, I have to join in here. I think that Kate is a lovely, delightful, bubbly person who doesn't think too hard about what she does. Some people just love that she is so accessible, with her beautiful voice and soothing style, and that is fine and well, but I am wary of her because she DOES have her family around her-an extremely clever family headed by an extremely clever and business-minded father.
I dislike the fact that John McCusker and Andy Cutting use their considerable talents making music so simple a child could do it, and bemoan the fact that she credits herself for the rewrites of traditional songs-it is certainly a way to make a living in this "business", but I personally do not think it is right.
I dislike that she is marketed as a singer of English song, because a large part of her repertoire is not only sub-Celtic but arranged and produced by a Scottish musician (yes, a bloody good one, but nonetheless), giving the impression to all those teenage girls that like her so much that flutey interludes and Annan Water are what English music sounds like. OK, she is a songer of some English song and some other stuff. I appreciate that she performs English music at all, but question what Mike McGoldrick or John or Tim O'Brien could offer in terms of style and presentation. Why does she never play with people who actually play English music?
I don't mind someone using the media and packaging to make a living from folk music. If you want to make a living from folk music ultimately you will have to do it. I just think that what she does is a mishmash of stuff that shouldn't be representative of English music. She never set out to be that representative, but people are easily pleased and maybe that Carthy girl is a bit too aggressive for some.
It IS a beautiful sound, but I am afraid I lost interest after the third album because it all sounds exactly the same to me: pretty songs, often with the complicated, difficult stuff removed (compare "Playing of Ball" to the original Irish ballad, have your toes curled), her sounding like she wants to cry, and a load off middle-aged blokes going "aww..." in the ether somewhere. Yick. Let's all go to a concert and be lulled to sleep by the music while we watch this "look at the Northerner isn't she cute, just listen to her pronounce words!" from the audience, plus comedy routine for good measure. She didn't think she should be nominated for the Mercury award because she was "from Barnsley". Sorry? I have a friend who thinks her act is insulting to women because her song persona is so pacifying and passive. Discuss?
pv


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 01:57 PM

Well she does have a lovely voice, but I sometimes find her lacking in emotion - like she's singing on tranquilizers or something. She doesn't seem to put much "drive" into her music. That said, I haven't seen her live, I'm just going by the CD's which incidentally I think are over arranged.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:06 PM

I bemoan the fact that she credits herself for the rewrites of traditional songs

So who should she credit if she writes a new tune for traditional words? Kate always makes it clear which part of a song she has written.

What is wrong with that? And you criticise her for having an intelligent father!

No chip on your shoulder, then...


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: ToryJane
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 02:42 PM

Speaking as a woman with quite a low tolerance for insults to my gender, I find nothing "insulting to women" about Kate Rusby's music. She has a definite style, which I personally find very appealing (although perhaps not in very large doses, because as someone else pointed out, there IS a certain sameness there). It's all just a matter of taste, isn't it -- for example, I don't really like listening to Eliza Cathy -- not because she is "too aggressive," but because to my ear, her voice seems abrasive and often pitch-challenged. On the other hand, I also love strong women singers like Maddy Prior and Miriam Makeba, whom nobody could accuse of being "pacifying and passive." It just depends on what mood I am in at the time. Would you really want to live in a world where all singers were required to be "strong" and "aggressive" and never soft and sweet?


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:05 PM

Not sure I can comment on the "purity" of her music Polly, but you do raise some very interesting points.

On those points on which I think I can comment:

Simplicity is often the difficult option, and less is often more!

I don't personally have a problem with the Rusby clan acting as a team, or benefiting from her father's business-mind. Working with a team of people is so much better than trying to act alone. I have run my own business for 18 years, having never been in permanent employment at any stage of my career, but 18 years in the IT business does nothing to prepare you for how difficult it is to make a living from "off-mainstream" music!

The "sameness" of the music is an issue for sure. Maybe another way of putting it is to say that there is an unmistakable "Rusby style". I am not sure I would listen to multiple Kate Rusby albums in a row, but I can say the same about Gillian Welch (another of my Heroines).

I've recently been helping Julie Ellison with some marketing, gig getting, live sound and finishing off the first album (and having a ball doing so I should add).   We're already talking about the second album and I have a strong sense that it should have a different feel to the first. Quite how we do that and still establish a Julie Ellison "signature" will be one of the more interesting challenges.

Which has sent my mind off working on some of those ....

Thanks for a really interesting discussion (more of the same please!)

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:10 PM

Strollin Johnny - I thought you did mean Belinda Sykes. Superb performer of traditional Sephardic and Arabic material. (Bloody good ceilidh and Cajun dancer too when she's not gigging)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:33 PM

Some strange things being said here. I must admit that I've enjoyed Kate's music for years, and seen her playing and singing round the fesivals since she was little (alright even littler!)

It seems you either like somebody's music or you don't. Or your opinion is somewhere in the middle. Either way it shouldn't really matter that much to anybody else. By all means tell us about people that you like and describe their music so that others have the chance to find out whether they share yor views.

I reckon that Kate sings (and writes) the songs that she does because she likes those songs. I don't think that really cares if they are English, Irish Scottish or whatever. They sound that way because that's the way she sings and plays them. And it's really nice that a husband and wife can enjoy creating and performing them together.

And Steve being 'criticised' for being businesslike and clever. Well if he wasn't we wouldn't have enjoyed such great sound at so many concerts for so many years. I'm still grateful for the time when I was playing with a pick-up band with three separate bits of PA for a Friday dance at Redcar. Steve was booked to provide the sound for the Saturday, and when he turned up on the Friday he saw the problem, got some of his gear and unobtrusively fixed it. For nowt!

I think that the problem with the publicity is that Kate can't really control it. If the BBC (or whoever) want to use her to promote folk music she'll go along with it because she's as interested in promoting folk music as the rest as us. And if sells a few CDs well bless 'er.

I think that some people here think that 'being from Barnsley' is an act. She's never been any different that I can see. And I'm glad that the success she's had hasn't changed her.

Les


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Folkiedave
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 03:50 PM

Having watched Kate mature and grow from a very young age I confess to being a fan.

There is no doubt that she has a stunning voice and she is an excellent fiddler and guitar and piano player. Had she wanted to become "commercial" then she could have stayed with "Equation" when they were offered (and accepted) megabucks to go down the pop road. She stayed with folk and thanks to her for doing that.

A couple of years ago she and the band filled the Arena on a cold night and she ad-libbed through a fantastic set - it had to be adlibbed most of it was about someone who had lent her a coat to keep her warm. Lovely lass and a super family. Not an air and a grace to their names. May she grow and prosper.

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 04:15 PM

Hmmmm, well i still like her music and i also like gustav Mahler and vaughan williams so there, ner ner, ner ner ner!!
Sorry......don't know wot came over me......


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 04:51 PM

Glad to hear Les from Hull saying good things about Steve Rusby. After defending him without knowing him I was half expecting somebody to dampen my fireworks!

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:22 PM

Polly,

It would be good if you came back and substansiated the reasons why Kate is your 'bugbear'

Most of your criticisms are wrong. The others have been well rebutted.

Curious to here your reply


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,polly
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:32 PM

I didn't mean to criticise Steve, as it goes. I find that people get impossibly romantic sometimes when they talk about her, as if she sprang from the earth fully-formed. I was trying to say that the "family" thing is really a coup (who else has that support?), in that it IS a great way to work if you can do it, but it is still a business.
I do have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about the issue, but it really doesn't have much to do with Kate herself or her music, which I find pleasant but a bit boring. What I have a problem with is that she was welcomed by some people as the "new face of English folk music" (that again!!), and I am rather protective of that particular genre. I'd like to think that people would investigate the rest of the scene as a result of listening to her, but since the promotion is very Kate-orientated you get a sense of someone being a "star" , and when you get that continuity is difficult. As for her crediting herself, I am old-fashioned and like to think that people add to the tradition by subsuming themselves into the process and taking a "trad-arr" credit instead, but I understand this is not the most practical way to go in terms of royalties.
For what it's worth, I think she is a good introduction to folk music, precisely because of the accessibility of her music. Most people I know like her music and I never get to have a rant! Forgive me if I annoyed anyone! :)
pv


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: akenaton
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:41 PM

Iv got to admit im a sucker for sad songs and Kate sure likes to sing them. but she sounds like shes a little girl whos lost her sweeties, not her heart.
Contrast Kates version of " Withered and Died" with Linda Thompsons version and youll see what I mean.Could you imagine Kate singing "All that i see".Linda wrings your heart out with that song.I know Lindas a veteran with years of living behind her,but i doubt if Kate will ever feel enough pain to make her a "great".   Ake


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:56 PM

OF course people are putting her down - she's popular.

All the loosers who thrash guitars they never quite learned to play and are still forgetting the songs they supposedly learned 30 years ago hate that. What's more if she gets new people into the scene they might turn up at clubs expecting to be entertained for their money.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 06:02 PM

That's fine, Polly. It's very true that Kate has had every advantage - Mum and Dad well steeped and well versed in folk music, been brought up round the festivals, a pretty young girl with bags of personality. And that's what attracts the media attention. And you're right to say that people attracted to the music by what Kate is doing may well look further as well. But she can't be responsible for what other people say about her.

By producing her own music with the help of talented friends and relatives she keeps control over her output. A major record company might provide more money but push in other directions.

I've just looked at the sleeve notes for 'little lights'. She credits and thanks everybody involved, gives the words for all the songs and says why she wrote a couple of them. As it's her own label she would only have to pay songwriter royalties to writers of other songs on the recording (Richard Thompson in this case). I think by saying 'words:trad tune Kate Rusby' she's just giving information.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: akenaton
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 06:08 PM

I dont want to put Kate down,her music is pleasant and your right about it being attractive to new faces.What i meant was,to earn the title of a great performer there has to be something special ...Something right from the heart.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: raredance
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 07:41 PM

Well I "discovered" Kate a couple years ago which is no mean feat in North Dakota. My oldest son (now 25)happened to listen to my "Sleepless" CD. Truth to tell, we both fell hard. My regret? He has "Ten" and I don't -- yet. But I see above there is a new recording that I'm sure he doesn't know about 'cause he's been working in the woods all summer. Somehow I sense it is soon to be "Advantage, dad"

rich r


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: izzy
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 07:45 PM

Hallo, I'm new here ...so I'd appreciate it if nobody eats me alive (I was gently reared on the BBC folk board :)

About Kate Rusby --she does have a beautiful voice and all, (and she's pretty too, which helps) but she doesn't wake you up in the way that I personally expect English folk to, and which I would say is one of the things that makes it different from much of the Celtic music currently available today (though if you listen to the Voice of the People set you realise that Celtic wasn't always like that). As a die-hard Watersons, Maddy Prior, Swarb, Carthys-of-all-descriptions fanatic, I appreciate it when I hear an English singer putting power and feeling and vigour into their performance. I haven't listened to all that much by Kate Rusby, but what I did hear (the more recent stuff) had a disconcertingly country-and-western lilt to it. I'm afraid that puts me right off, when I sit down to listen to folk music. She COULD be terrific if she put more feeling into it. I had the same problem with Cara Dillon, who is Irish --I heard her music on the radio, thought she had a great voice, bought the CD, listened to it a few times and vaguely liked it, then put it on my CD rack and forgot about it for the next six months. Whereas "Rice" makes a sortie every few weeks or so, and the Watersons are on heavy rotation.


When it comes to English female folk singers --how about Anne Briggs and Lal Waterson? Not to mention June Tabor and Linda Thompson ("Never Again" playing in the background...)

Cheers,

Isabel


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: VIN
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 03:55 AM

Hi Polly, speaking of 'new faces of English folk music' i was at Saddleworth festival t'other week (maybe you was there?) and saw some young guys performing at the civic (i mean around thirteenish maybe, certainly too young to buy a pint) whose name escapes me. They were playing instrumentals brilliantly with fiddle, bohran, organ, piano accordian etc, and what conficence! Where they will go in the future, what musical direction they'll take who knows but it was a joy to watch. Anyone remember their name?


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,cittern
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:42 AM

Vin - that sounds like a description of Kerfuffle (sp?). Not seen or heard of them myself but their reputation has preceeded them.

Polly - I am sure you haven't annoyed anyone, there was a posting elsewhere on Mudact about why people keep coming back here when so may other folk/acoustic forums are so quiet. One reason was how much of the personality of the posters comes through on Mudcat, as this thread shows very well.

On the subject of people discovering folk music through Kate, Cara Dillon and the like, but not moving on, this is illustrative of a wider problem. People tend to establish a set of artists who they know they like and they rarely seem to take the "risk" of seeking out someone new.

This has an impact on the problem of trying to promote an unknown or new name in this scene (as in any other "market"). Clubs are understandably reluctant to book new names when the audience seems reluctant to turn up "on spec" to hear someone new. The natural result is that there exists a group of established names (Rusby, Carthy, et al) who the clubs/festivals/promoters know will pull a crowd.

I have found radio stations to be open to hearing someone new however and airtime can be generated if you keep pushing, and there is still no substitute to trawling around the country doing singers sessions and unpaid support slots. It is simply a question of putting in the leg work until you get to the "critical mass", achieved by Cara, Kate and probably Kerfuffle, at which a "buzz" is created.

Which raises another interesting point - what makes you go see a new name? What makes you "take the risk"?

Maybe a subject for another thread!

Best regards
John Robinson
http://www.JulieEllison.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: the lemonade lady
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 06:33 AM

Fantastic, but childish voice becoming fashionable with some young folkies.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,polly
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 10:58 AM

Thanks all. She can't be responsible for what is said about her, it's true (unless it's on her website, I suppose). As for thanking people, credits and being proud of your accent, I don't know anyone on the folk scene who doesn't do those things (people do judge her on mainstream music terms-in folk music these things are not particularly special qualities), but as for being slagged because she is popular-it's true, some do do that, but I don't. I wish her the best of success, and hope that others are able to become as famous to balance things out a bit, provide an alternative sound and ideology. It's funny, people spent years rejecting the "waify girl with guitar" image (Julie Felix, etc), and it is still so very attractive and powerful, in a way. I imagine if she held strong opinions on things ( as Joan Baez or similar), she would really be a force to be reckoned with.
Some folks like a nice noise and since that is a large part of the function of music I guess I give up. There'll always be all kinds of music, puff and substance, and people will choose for themselves. Quite right.
pv


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: old git
Date: 02 Aug 03 - 05:29 PM

VIN,
that group at saddleworth were called "Heyfever" (i think that's the right spelling)
i agree   they were brilliant


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: okthen
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 05:38 PM

Saw Kate a couple of weeks ago with 'catter RolyH, I was blown away, I had thought she might be a "little girly lost on a great big stage" how wrong could I be, that lady OWNED the stage, she gave a mature proffessional more than just competant performance. Her band were of equal calibre. If you get chance go see her, if you've seen her already you'll know what I mean.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Sibelius
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 06:41 PM

Well, is Kate Rusby's music English, not English, folk music, not folk music, trad., not trad., manufactured, not manufactured?
Remember what that aggressive Carthy girl's (ouch!) dad said: the worst thing you can do to a folk song is NOT SING IT!


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: michaelr
Date: 06 Oct 03 - 08:58 PM

okthen, I agree with you completely. Kate is maturing into a major talent and a force to be reckoned with, not only as an interpreter of traditional songs, but also as a writer, composer and arranger. I look forward to many great albums to come from her.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 02:32 AM

She still sing bloody miserable songs at times (And I know that is the English song tradition)


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: okthen
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 04:03 AM

Guest 2:32, you have encapsulated the essence of traditional English song, songs which reflect the national character, a national character sculpted and trained by weather, social conditions, and tens of successive governments, governments which understand that the British people are not happy unless they've got something to moan about and have diligently endeavoured to supply the demand they have created. So is it any wonder our songs are bloody miserable.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 05:21 AM

Well, Kate herself jokes about all folk songs being miserable, but I don't think that it is actually true of the English tradition. Such certainly exist, but alongside bucolic drinking songs, pastoral delights and sweet love songs. They may have the sailor going away, but back he comes. (With his broken ring on a bit of string...)

It was pointed out that English night visiting songs have happy endings, whereas the Scottish ones end in death, murder, drownings and the destruction of families... A gross simplification I'm sure, but maybe you've been listening to the Scottish songs Kate sings?

There are of course the sad songs about industrial working conditions, but many of those have been played up (or written) by the left-wing side of the folk movement. I'm certainly not knocking them, but when you're pressing for change you aren't going to play up the sunny side of life. Even when your predecessors did - to name but one example, Tommy Armstrong wrote his happy bouncy songs too.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: smallpiper
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 06:04 AM

I like her and what she does and long may she continue to do it. I do find it supprising that people find her music samey, but then it shouldn't because I can't count the number of times I've heard people complain about trad music because it all sounds the same! A quote from a punter at whitby "same music different people , I can't stand that diddly diddly mafia" oh well thank god we're all different eh?


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 07 Oct 03 - 08:52 PM

THough some of the above is hard conversation I find it all very interesting. I think Polly has asked some very interesting questinons about whats English and what isnt.I like what Less said as well and Citern too.I like the effort of looking at whats english and whats celtic baced. I think Martin Carthy over the years has done very well at making Irish tunes sound English ( His family is Irish isnt it ?? ) . And I think he has done it well because of his joyfull interest in Moris danceing and that lilt is a strong subtext in his playing. ( along with a great right thumb from the delta)
          When somethings as good as Kate's work I dont want to put it into a catagory so I will just think of her as a very good musician who loves where she comes from and loves the music she plays. I dont think its HER fault that others have tryied to pigion Hole Her into a type. Shes a Yorkshire born woman who plays music she loves. I play blues and english music as well and I am not Black or English. Its just music I have to play !
            The great thing about Kate and Johns music is how they work off of each other. I love the open style of Whoever's classy guitar things . I havent seen them so I have no idea whos doing what . I think ( I guess) Kate has a wonderful sence of space in her playing .. The mandolin work on " A Bold Young Farmmer" is the best of "less is more". We have years to see what she dose and I for one will follow her work with joy and great happyness she is there.I also think John is very good at adding and leaving room for her to shine. I worked very hard at staying out of Lui Collin'd way but adding on stage for years so I know from where iI speak. Great job Kids !!! All the best to all here, Guy Wolff


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Beverley Barton
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 08:46 AM

poor miss rusby! i hope she doesn't read any of this. i have bought all her albums to date and think she's great,in fact, she's the only "folk" singer in my cd collection


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Oct 03 - 07:54 PM

Has anyone heard her new album? If so, consider posting a review.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,eliza c
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 01:37 PM

hi,
The family is Irish a few generations back, but dad for a long time worked with Scots ballads, anglicising them. That was what they put him forward for the MBE for, apparently (the Scots, that is). People tend to see the family as performing only English stuff, when in fact the Watersons and MC always did a pretty eclectic mix of Brit and American material. Same thing with Kate really, people see it as English when in fact it's a mix (quite a Celtic-sounding mix to my ears, especially with John arranging and producing for so long and people like Mike Mcgoldrick playing.Nice though.). Could be an English trait, I suppose.
I'm not sure about the English songs having happy endings. I tend to sing the sad ones, where he's dead or drownded at the end, and I do do mainly English stuff, because I'm a nerd!
x cheers


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: Guy Wolff
Date: 11 Oct 03 - 05:30 PM

Thanks eliza c for the clarification. Very good music always draws from tons of great subtexts. Bringing up the Scotish rythums is an obvious important addition to the mix ( very interesting ) and put that with the strong lilt of the Morris dance rythum what a great tention he gets. He was great on THursday night in Pawlling Ny . !!!!
            Isnt Kate's a "Bold Young Farmmer courted me " a wonderful wonderful peace on the new cd. Sad though so it has the Saddly ever after thing soan up ! I do like the production team's work on the latest cd "Ten" on miking and post production mixing. The work is not over compressed and sounds very present ( a hard thing to pull off ) . A class act !


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 10:47 AM

Someone's lent me Ten, and I've been listening to it while driving in the mountains. Fabulous.

Rusby has fantastic control, timing, pitch - and her voice, already beautiful, is going to mature into a rich, full alto.

Some of the songs are truly eerie, like Maid of Llanwellyn; others are from a very *female* viewpoint, like the first song on the album, about a lad taken by the soldiers and turned into a lout, and his wife's feelings about this.

Amazing stuff, from a wonderful artist.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 07:05 PM

Hmm. Can someone tell me about Maid of llanwellyn? I looked it up and it gave three verses, which I'll quote. But what makes Rusby's version so fantastic is the chorus she inserts, which turns it from a sweet but ordinary love song into something pagan and strangely hauntingl:

No sheep on the mountain, no goat
No horses to offer, no boat
Only hens I have with me,
They are one two and three
But the Maid of llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.


The original verses are these:

Maid of Llanwellyn

I've no sheep on the mountains nor boat on the lake
Nor coin in my coffer to keep me awake
Nor corn in my garden, nor fruit on my tree
Yet the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.

Rich Owen will tell you with eyes full of scorn
Threadbare is my coat and my hosen are torn
Scoff on my rich Owen, for faint is thy glee
When the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.

The farmer rides proudly to market and fair
And the clerk at the ale house still claims the great chair
But of all our proud fellows, the proudest I'll be
When the maid of Llanwellyn smiles sweetly on me.


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Subject: RE: Review: Kate Rusby - opinions please?
From: GUEST,In the Studio
Date: 01 Feb 04 - 08:18 PM

Nice voice nice songs - but... a bit samey - I must admit I've only heard a few of her songs but found them to be so samey that I didn't persue listening to any more (this of course could be my loss).


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