After giving us a wonderful collection of evocative songs that was one of the joys of the year, Sir Thomas Allen follows up with some 29 songs fished out of his father's seemingly inexhaustible repertoire.
There are some firmly established favorites here such as 'The Green Hills o' Somerset', Haydn Wood's 'Roses of Picardi' and the lovely 'Cradle Song'. Allen sings all with his usual panache and Martineau is the ideal accompanist in all departments.
There is not much to add to such a delightful collection as each song is informed with that traditional beauty and nostalgia that permeates this sort of repertoire. Indeed, I am sure this is all a labour of love for both artists with Allen well and truly having a ball in these songs that he obviously knows so well.
I would be hard pressed to choose any particular song but the real gem of the release must be Andrew Lamb's exhaustive notes on each and every song complete with their texts. Listening to the disc over and over again did not diminish my enjoyment in the least and I have to say that this can be one of the discs of the year for Hyperion.
Incidentally, that great patriotic anthem from Ireland, 'She moved thro' the fair' is a fitting conclusion to this glorious collection.
Copyright © 2003, Gerald Fenech