3 Oct 2015
This summer Lady Prudence announced her intention to launch a new album and it came as no surprise that her Kickstarter goal was essentially doubled. I found a few spare groats under the cage of Sir Rocko, my ground parrot, and promptly dropped them in the post to the Lady’s attention, care of somewhere on dry land. Several months later I received a package containing a signed copy of her new album All’s Faire, a very pleasant handwritten note, and a rather torrid love letter to Sir Rocko (apparently from our local postmaster).
First, let’s look at the album packaging, which is a terribly well made folding paper sleeve designed by Chris Lyons. The cover photograph (by Scott Wallack) features the Lady seated in a wood, strumming an ambercrotchie, or a fiddlin’ or whatever you call them stringed yowlers what ain’t guitars. It’s a lovely photograph and is matched on the reverse by a photo (by Dena Smith) of the lady sans instrument. The inside spread features a list of the donors who helped to fund this musical endeavor, and I must confess that I was surprised to see that the list included an entry for that map-stealing villain from my annual pub crawl, Admiral Edmund Vainglory III. One additional photo by Dena Smith features a close-up of the Lady flambering a flanchette, or whatever you call it, and it is plainly visible that she is wearing a ring filched from my ship. “Lady” my poopdeck!
But the music… now that’s quite nice. Here’s the track listing:
- How Can I Keep From Singing?
- The Lakes of Pontchartrain
- The Lass of the Low Countree
- O Whistle (An’ I’ll Come Tae Ye)
- The Star of the County Down
- Scarborough Faire
- She Moved Through the Faire
- Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór
- Siúil a Rún
- The Bantry Girls’ Lament
- The Skye Boat Song
- The Foggy Dew
- Both Sides the Tweed
- If I Were*
This is a wonderfully gentle (and accomplished) collection of performances, something so nice that it might well serve to be played at wedding receptions and other fine social events. The album features a blend of music ranging from the middle ages to the early 20th century, and covers the British isles with a mix of Irish, English and Scottish music. (I’m informed that Track 15 is a song “most famously performed by Mr. Kermit T. Frog.”)
In my first listening a few songs stood out, including the playful O Whistle (An’ I’ll Come Tae Ye), the instrumental Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór, and the always enjoyable Both Sides of the Tweed.
The liner notes indicate that in addition to her fine vocals the Lady performs all of her own instrumentation, including: the lute harp, recorder, penny whistle, bowed psaltery, and drum. There is no mention of the ambercrotchie, the volkswhistle, the slomberduddie, or the strumbrella, but I am certain that I heard each of these magical stringed creatures at some point during the play.
And you may too, so best buy the album (and drink rum!!).