The participants in Waterson: Carthy -- Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, and Tim Van Eyken -- are formidable folkies fully capable of holding their own as solo artists, so it's extra special when they pull their talent together for an album like Fishes & Fine Yellow Sand. The group occupies the same musical turf that Waterson and Martin Carthy helped to carve out during the British folk revival in the early '60s, a turf based on traditional songs and acoustic instruments. Even fiddler/vocalist Eliza Carthy, also known for her contemporary songwriting and progressive folk style, buries these tendencies here for lovely renditions of "Newry Town" and "Captain Kidd." Even within a traditional vein, however, the joy of Fishes & Fine Yellow Sand is the variety highlighted by several talented -- and quite different -- vocalists. Waterson's weathered, deep rendering of a worn classic like "The Oxford Girl" gives the song a new sheen. Most revealing, though, is Waterson's lead and the accompanying harmony on Robert Hunter/Jerry Garcia's "Black Muddy River." For those who cry that this isn't a traditional song, it's likely that those unfamiliar with the Grateful Dead will be able to separate it from oldies like "Goodbye Fare You Well." Fishes & Fine Yellow Sand is another fine release from Waterson: Carthy, and will please fans as well as anyone who enjoys good acoustic music.
AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.