Martin Carthy

The January Man: Live in Belfast 1978

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Recorded at Belfast's Sunflower Folk Club on October 20, 1978, this is an hour-long live set by the venerated British folk performer. All of the material is traditional in origin, save for one song, David Goulder's "The January Man." The quality is not quite "superb," as the liner notes state at one point -- you can hear some audience chatter and clinks, in addition to other minor imperfections -- but it's good enough, the equivalent of a decent, live late-'70s radio broadcast. The songs include tunes that Carthy placed on albums dating back to his 1965 debut, and as far forward as the LP he'd put out in 1979 shortly after this concert, Because It's There. Among the selections are haunting ballads (one of which, "Prince Heathen," was an audience request), a cappella performances, and even a bawdy number, "The Bonny Black Hare." This couldn't be recommended as one of the better Carthy releases out there, but it's a good souvenir for serious fans, as the performances are good, the audio satisfactory, and the packaging thoughtful, including liner notes with comments from Carthy himself.

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