Too Long in This Condition

Alasdair Roberts

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Too Long in This Condition Review

by James Christopher Monger

Alasdair Roberts’ sixth proper album, an 11-track, upper level course on contemporary and traditional Scottish balladry, begins with a tale that concerns a cheating wife being escorted to Hell by Satan himself on his own ghost ship. "Daemon Lover” may sound like a downer, but Roberts’ sprightly guitar work and amiable delivery make it sound more like a campfire ghost story than a cautionary tale of the pitfalls of adultery. Too Long in This Condition differs little from the singer/songwriter’s previous outings, which is good news for anyone who has followed his rise from Will Oldham-esque, U.K. folk oddity under the moniker Appendix Out to one of most respected, modern practitioners of the English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh folk tradition. His renditions of classics like “Long Lankin,” “Little Sir Hugh,” “The Golden Vanity,” and “Barbara Allen” are just loose enough to retain their authenticity, and well-honed enough to earn the abbreviated guitar tablature (complete with capo locations) that accompanies them in the liner notes. Nic Jones, Archie Fisher, and Dick Gaughan may have blazed his trail, but it’s Roberts who’s leading the way now.

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