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Sweet England

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Album Review

Jim Moray's debut really set the cat among the pigeons with English folkies. The young iconoclast took traditional songs (all except the final cut, "Longing for Lucy," which he'd composed himself) and gave them very modern arrangements, including loops, beats, brass, and string quartets. The ballad "Lord Bateman" took on trip-hop overtones, while the harmonies on "The Week Before Easter" came straight out of the Beach Boys handbook. "Early One Morning" exploded before heading into ambient beats and swelling strings, and discordant jazz trumpets invaded "Gypsies." It was a daring subversion, all topped by Moray's voice, with its very ‘80s pop feel. For all the criticism from hardcore traditional folkies, Sweet England was an album to draw in those not normally exposed to folk. The arrangements looked to other genres, and gave the old pieces fresh, lovely settings. It's an album to stand the test of time, and shows the enduring power of Moray's vision.

Biography

Born: Macclesfield, Cheshire, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s

Few Brit folk artists have caused such a stir as Jim Moray. His debut album, 2003's Sweet England, polarized opinion in dramatic fashion. Old traditionalists were dismissive of the computer-generated sounds employed on his daringly adventurous arrangements of old ballads featuring beats and tape loops, influenced as much by Massive Attack and Radiohead as the old trad singers. More, however, saw it as the most innovative and exciting development for British folk music in years, and at least one reviewer...
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Sweet England, Jim Moray
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