Anne Briggs

The Time Has Come

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Anne Briggs' second album appeared in 1971, but in sharp contrast to her debut, where she'd sung traditional music with scarcely any accompaniment, this was virtually all contemporary material, most of it self-penned, with Briggs playing guitar and bouzouki. Included was the title track, which had already been covered by former boyfriend Bert Jansch, and showed Briggs to be a writer of some power (although, to be fair, Jansch's slower, more reflective version remains the better), and it's also the standout among Briggs' material, followed by "Wishing Well," where Jansch gets the co-writing credit. "Ride Ride" is a pastiche railroad song (obviously British railways don't have quite the same appeal), and the opening "Sandman's Song" harks back to innocent childhood, albeit a rather strange one. The choice of covers is far from obvious, but very tasteful. Steve Ashley's "Fire and Wine" could almost be a traditional piece, while the perkiness of Henry McCulloch's "Step Right Up" works well with Briggs' artless voice. Very much influenced by the folk revival which brought her into the public eye, her voice is untutored and unself-conscious, appealing in an offhand way. But it definitely quavers a little, even on her own work, and she seems most comfortable with the record's only traditional piece, "Standing on the Shore." To give credit, Briggs throws in a couple of bouzouki instrumentals, "Highlodge Hare" and "Clea Caught a Rabbit," that show some command of the instrument. The whole here might be less than the sum of its parts -- but the parts, in some intangible way, remain very appealing.

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