Saturday, August 21, 2010
Alasdair Roberts & Friends: Too Long in This Condition | CD review | Music | The Guardian: "Scotsman Alasdair Roberts is a cult hero thanks to his highly individual, bleak or quirky songs – with influences that range from ancient Celtic ballads to Robin Williamson – and to his equally original treatment of traditional songs. Last year, he released an album of his own material, Spoils. Now comes a new and typically surprising album of folk songs. It's unexpected not only because of the songs he chooses – which include folk favourites such as Barbara Allen, The Golden Vanity and Long Lankin – but also the jaunty backing for what are often tragic or gory lyrics. He succeeds because he is a fine storyteller, making even the best-known song sound as if he wrote it, and he uses the instrumentation to good effect, so the almost cheerful fiddle work on Little Sir Hugh makes this story of child murder even more horrific. Elsewhere, Roberts mixes his own fine guitar playing and understated vocals with uilleann pipes on�Who Put the Blood on Your Right Shoulder, Son?, edges towards stomping folk-rock in The Burning of Auchindoun, and is helped by some impressive vocal back-up from Emily Portman on several songs, including The Daemon Lover. It's his most�accessible album to date."