It may have taken nearly 30 years for someone to suggest a Norma Waterson solo project, but the outcome was well worth the wait. Waterson's eponymous titled debut, with the exception of "There is a Fountain in Christ's Blood," isn't the traditional collection some would expect, but is filled with material from contemporary writers which makes it much closer in sound to the folk-rock of an artist like Richard Thompson. The record kicks off with a beautiful reading of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter's "Black Muddy River" and rolls through a range of songs by the likes of Thompson, Billy Bragg, Elvis Costello, Ben Harper and Norma's sister Lal. The backing is sympathetic throughout, mixing Martin Carthy's intricate acoustic guitar with Richard Thompson's lyrical electric work, Danny Thompson's bass, Roger Swallow's drums and bits of violin from Eliza Carthy. It would be easy for such an all-star band to outshine a lesser talent, but it's Norma Waterson's world-weary alto that instills the songs with a timelessness and gives them real life.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Brett Hartenbach