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Martin Carthy New Album In Review




Martin Carthy, an iconic figure in the British folk scene, has long been celebrate for his beautiful guitar playing, his haunting vocals and his deep connection with traditional 

folk music. His self-titled album, "Martin Carthy," released in 1965, stands as a cornerstone in the folk revival of the 1960s and remains a timeless testament to Carthy's talent and dedication to the genre.





From the moment the needle drops on the opening track, "Scarborough Fair," listeners are enveloped in Carthy's spellbinding interpretation of this classic ballad. His intricate fingerpicking technique creates a hypnotic backdrop or his rich, resonant voice, which breathes new life into the age-old tale of love and longing. Carthy's masterful arrangement, featuring alternating verses between the male and female protagonists, adds a captivating dimension to the narrative, drawing listeners deeper into its 

melancholic beauty.


Throughout the album, Carthy showcases his remarkable versatility as both a vocalist and instrumentalist. On tracks like "The Sheepstealer" and "The Famous Flower of Serving Men," his guitar playing is at once driving and delicate, propelling the narratives forward with relentless momentum while also allowing space for the

 intricate melodies to shine. His vocals, meanwhile, range from tender whispers to powerful declarations, each phrase imbued with a sense of sincerity and emotional 

depth that is truly captivating.


One of the album's standout moments comes in the form of "Lord Franklin," a haunting ballad recounting the ill-fated Arctic expedition of Sir John Franklin. Carthy's haunting rendition of this tragic tale is nothing short of mesmerizing, with his plaintive vocals and mournful guitar accompaniment evoking the desolate beauty of the frozen

wasteland. As the narrative unfolds, listeners are drawn into the harrowing journey of the doomed crew, their fate sealed by the unforgiving elements and the relentless march of time.


In addition to his solo performances, Carthy is joined on several tracks by fellow folk luminaries such as Dave Swarbrick and Diz Disley, whose contributions add depth and texture to the album's sound. Together, they weave a tapestry of sound that is at once timeless and contemporary, honoring the traditions of the past while also pushing 

the boundaries of the genre into new and uncharted territory.


One of the album's most striking features is Carthy's fearless approach to 

reinterpretation. Whether he's breathing new life into centuries-old ballads or putting his own stamp on more contemporary material, Carthy approaches each song with an unwavering commitment to authenticity and artistic integrity. This is perhaps most evident on tracks like "Nottamun Town" and "Seven Yellow Gypsies," where Carthy's innovative arrangements and bold musical choices transform familiar tunes into something wholly original and utterly compelling.


At its heart, "Martin Carthy" is a celebration of the enduring power of folk music to transcend time and space, to connect us with our shared heritage and with each other. It is a testament to Carthy's unparalleled talent and his unwavering dedication to

his craft, a timeless masterpiece that continues to inspire and enchant listeners more than half a century after its initial release.


"Martin Carthy" stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of one of folk music's most iconic figures. With its mesmerizing performances, innovative arrangements and

timeless appeal, it remains a cornerstone of the genre and a must-have for any serious folk music enthusiast. Whether you're a longtime fan of Martin Carthy or a newcomer to his music, this album is sure to leave a lasting impression and reaffirm his status as a true master of his craft.


Reviewed by Jude Fucetola

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