Various Artists

English Folk Anthology: And We'll All Have Tea

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Given the diversity of talent here, covering several decades' worth of English folk, from A.L. Lloyd to Nic Jones and Richard Thompson, the quality of this double-CD set is astonishingly consistent, and all at a high level. Most of what is here is acoustic-textured music, whether it is original or traditional, but there are exceptions. most notably Richard Thompson, whose "Time to Ring Some Changes" includes drums and amplification. In these surroundings, the latter sticks out a bit, especially appearing as it does juxtaposed to Tarras' "The Happy Salmon," dominated as the latter is by Emma Hancock's violin playing, and Maddy Prior's "Somewhere Along the Road," which follows, only heightens the contrast of the Thompson track. But the beauty of this collection lies in its sheer range of sounds and talent, grouping artists like Thompson, Prior, and Jones with older figures who aren't well or widely represented on CD reissues, including A.L. Lloyd et al. The annotation is minimal, as one would expected on a budget-priced collection, but the sound quality is excellent throughout.

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