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Nottamun Town: British and American Folksongs and Ballads

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Album Review

This is one of several CDs released on the Revels label with the purpose of bringing John Langstaff's classic folk recordings from the 1950s and 1960s back to market. On Nottamun Town, which was originally recorded and released on the EMI label in 1964, Langstaff divides his time between powerful a cappella renditions of songs like "False Knight Upon the Road" and "St. James Hospital" and others, equally fine, on which he is accompanied by guitarist Martin Best. In a couple of cases — notably the wonderful "Seventeen Come Sunday" — Best's elegant fingerpicking almost upstages Langstaff's powerful baritone voice, but in general this is Langstaff's show. Or, as he might insist, it's the songs' show: as rich and cultivated as his classically trained voice is, he delivers these songs without any particular showboating or self-aggrandizing fanfare, instead showcasing each one as if it were a rare jewel. Which, particularly in the case of "Golden Vanity" and "She Moved Through the Fair," is exactly what they are. Highly recommended.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

As a teacher and singer alone, John Langstaff has had a rich and varied career. But as the founder of the Christmas Revels in the 1950s, he has also been responsible for one of the most invigorating modern day holiday celebrations. It seems appropriate, then, that Langstaff was born on Christmas Eve in 1920. He grew up in Brooklyn Heights, and at the age of eight joined the Grace Church Choir where he sang soprano. His parents, who often invited friends over for spontaneous performances of Bach chorales...
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Nottamun Town: British and American Folksongs and Ballads, John Langstaff
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