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Sing Lustily & With Good Courage

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Album Review

Maddy Prior's second recording with the Carnival Band (the first being A Tapestry of Carols) is a celebration of hymns by such figures as John Bunyan (1628-1688), Charles Wesley (1707-1788), et al., dating from the year 1700, when they were still not fully legitimate within either the Anglican or nonconformist churches in England. This isn't the wild and woolly sound of Steeleye Span, but something much more studied, coming out of a serious music tradition. Prior's solo singing, as on "As Pants the Hart," is as good as any on her Steeleye Span albums, but a lot more restrained and purposeful; some of the ensemble vocals, as on "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," are very pretty. Most of the material here is still sung today, although the instrumentation — including lutes, mandolin, tabors, and 19th century bassoon — has changed in use. "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending" is one of the prettier pieces here, and a few, like "How Firm a Foundation," dating from the late 18th century, recall counterparts from the American religious experience.

Customer Reviews

Classic hymns with period instruments

A great example of what gallery hymns and the bands that played them would have sounded like in the 18th century before the singular dominance of the organ in church music.

Also a very nice variety of classic English hymnody. The period instruments convey well the lively and often dance-like character of these hymns, elements that are not typically heard in the usual renditions.


Born: August 14, 1947 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Maddy Prior has established herself, by dint of both talent and time, as one of the leading female singers in British folk (and folk-rock). Born in St. Albans, outside London, she developed an interest in traditional English music as a teenager and through friends, found her way to the treasure trove of material at Cecil Sharpe House and also to Ewan MacColl, the de facto leader of the folk revival. In the late '60s, she met Tim Hart, an accomplished singer and instrumentalist, and together they...
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