Robin Williamson

Island of the Strong Door

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Robin Williamson closed out a productive decade with 1999's THE ISLAND OF THE STRONG DOOR. The 10 originals mix his British Isles background with elements of romantic popular music, theater, cabaret, and more. Like a modern-day troubadour, Williamson uses his songs to touch on issues close to him and his heritage.

The opening "Love Letter to My Wife Bina" is exactly that. Bina herself contributes background vocals to a number of the selections, as she has done on many of Williamson's recordings. Otherwise, this is a completely solo offering. Williamson accompanies himself on harp, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, whistle, jaw harp, and percussion. Connections with his first ensemble, the Incredible String Band, are clear and distinct, primarily because of the strong stamp of Williamson's idiosyncratic composing and vocal styles. The album is mystical and earthy, by turns, but at all times open and inviting. ISLAND is another very fine album in a staggeringly large and compelling catalog.

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