With wife Bina singing background vocals and two accompanists, RING DANCE has the feel of Robin Williamson's first ensemble, the Incredible String Band. Where that '60s outfit was co-lead by Williamson and Mike Heron, their songs and voices alternating, this album is the musical vision of Williamson alone.
Williamson himself plays most of the instruments (guitar, harp, bass, dulcimer, keyboards, fiddle, whistles, mandolin, and percussion). Lawson Dando sits in on keyboards, and Peter Stacey plays saxophone. Williamson's writing incorporates and celebrates the Celtic traditions that have long fascinated him. RING DANCE's dozen songs are romantic, mystical, earthy, folky, wise, and sly-sometimes several of these things at once. Since the '80s, Williamson has also pursued his homeland's tradition of storytelling (he has devoted whole CDs to this, including the two-volume GEMS OF CELTIC STORY), and here he incorporates short, spoken passages into several numbers.