Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vin Garbutt

"Bandalised" 1994

Hector Christie:
Funny old world isn't it? In the space of a week or so I've come across two reviews of Vin's latest which give extremely opposing views. Whilst "Folk Roots" were less than lukewarm about this album - poor social commentary, strangulated or wavering voice or whatever, - the "Daily Telegraph" (I kid you not) writhed with excitement at their discovery of a great talent, etc. etc.

or my money, any day that a Vin Garbutt album is released is a red letter day and this is no exception. Skilfully using a band for the third album in succession Vin weaves the usual magical blend of tunes and songs that, as a reflex action, have me reaching for my wallet. Overall I wished there had been slightly more vocals and a little less instrumentals (Folk Roots wished exactly the opposite, proving only that different people have different tastes and nothing terribly more profound than that!).

The album sets a high standard throughout without that magical track that socks it to you right between the eyes taking place, as "The Bloom of the Broom" did on his previous outing or "Absent Friends" on the one before. A plateau of excellence isn't a bad place to be stranded on, however, and that's the feel of this album. Of particular interest (to me at any rate) was Vin's treatment of "The Flower of Dunblane" and his rehabilitation of "The Rose of Tralee" synonymous for too long with gin soaked, tear soaked, maudlin pub singers.

ince getting up his own label, the relative rarity of a Garbutt release seems to be a thing of the past, and goodies like this now seem to be a regular events.

"Word of Mouth" 1999

Dave Beeby:
Vin Garbutt has been around for a long time - three decades or so. Never!! I hear you say. He is now on his "30 Years on the Road" tour so it must be true. This CD has been released to coincide with that. It's as a live performer that he's best known which is, in some ways a pity, because he's a tremendous deliverer of songs as well.
Never one to shirk the issue or avoid controversy, Vin has put together an album which has its fair share of thought provoking subjects ranging from the Falklands war, prostitution in Bangkok, the problems facing the North Sea fishermen and, inevitably, Ireland. Some have been in his live set for some time but none have been recorded before, and all have that distinct "Vin" feel, probably because the tunes are instantly recognisable as his. You don't have to agree with the points being made but you are challenged to listen and make your own mind up. Don't buy this if you want an easy, comfortable time - Vin does not allow this.

The quality of sound is excellent, as is the backing - both vocally and instrumentally.

Some of the songs have been written by Vin whilst, in true folk style, others have been "collected" - not from source singers!!! but from floor singers. So that is how the folk process is developing.

A truly fine album of thought provoking material from one of the best around. Highly recommended.


Blogger Bobby said...

More Vin thanks Liz you're an angel

20 January, 2007 17:03  

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