Morris On

Morris On

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    9
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A beautiful, authentically rustic album, without a trace of elegance, and hardly an effort to smooth over the rough spots. The music and the performances have a quiet power and dignity, and a raw, direct nature that is extremely appealing. The record opens up in haunting fashion with Barry Dransfield's fiddle on "Morris Call," and from there things get wilder and woollier, with some downright funny moments as well (check out the false opening on "Princess Royal"). Shirley Collins appears as a guest vocalist on "Staines Morris" and "The Willow Tree," and the Chingford Morrismen do stick dances on two tracks as well. John Kirkpatrick's accordion, concertina, and harmonium are the dominant accompanying instruments. None of this was a threat to Fairport or Steeleye Span's success, but all of it is valuable to fans of either band, and the album does have a raw energy that Fairport began losing after 1972 -- and "Cuckoo's Nest" alone is almost worth the price of the album, recalling the kind of funny, cheerfully lusty recordings of A.L. Lloyd and sparked by some of Richard Thompson's best playing from this period.

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