The Watersons

Green Fields

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While this album contains three tracks otherwise available ("The Wensleydale Lad" and "The Brisk Lad" from Mike Waterson and Lal and Norma Waterson's "The Unfortunate Lass"), they're just icing on the cake that is the reissue of 1981's Green Fields. And marvelous stuff it is, too. Some of the songs, like "While Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping" and "Hares in the Old Plantation," have gone on to become part and parcel of Martin Carthy's repertoire (although he doesn't sing lead on either here), while the rest are pieces that members either collected themselves or which have been dusted off after being found in any number of places. But the Watersons have always avoided the obvious in their choice of material and their arrangements. This album gives everyone a chance to shine, with some pieces sung by the entire quartet and others split up, giving a strong sense of variety and aptness to the voices in the songs themselves. As always, the singing is excellent, a joy to hear, with harmonies that draw from the folk tradition, chapel, and sheer inspiration. And since the Watersons haven't recorded an album since (with the untimely death of Lal Waterson), this makes for a splendid swan song.

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