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04/05/04 Blues In Britain Review
Lauren Sheehan - Same Old Lonesome Day

Music Maker MMCD39

If you are a devotee of traditional American acoustic roots music, then you are going to love this set from the hugely talented Lauren Sheehan, who delivers seventeen tracks of, what would in the 60s have been described as folk blues.

Sheehan is joined on nine tracks by harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins, whose harp both embellishes and echoes the various emotions and moods that Sheehan creates; chugging rhythmically on the loping 'Trouble In Mind', where Sheehan's haunting vocals are imbued with a pureness and clarity that often soars to a sultry falsetto, or mirroring the poignancy she brings to blind Boy Fuller's 'Weeping Willow Blues', the heartrending natural tremor in her vocals further enhancing the mood, as it also does on 'The Werewolf' where Wiggins' harp allied to Sheehan's falsetto, bring the creature vividly to life.

'Rattlesnake Mountain' is a rhythmic acapella folk song imbued with a pure and natural beauty; 'House Carpenter' is an old-timey song with strong Celtic influences, replete with fine banjo from Stephen 'Sammy' Lind, the Celtic feel again to the fore on the poignant mountain song 'Little Maggie', where the mood is enhanced by haunting harp and fiddle (Lind).

There are three instrumentals that illustrate the fluidity and clarity of Sheehan's guitar style; a lilting rendition of Pete Seeger's 'Livin' In The Country', and two numbers associated with John Hurt, 'Creole Belle' and 'Shake That Thing', both of which beautifully capture the natural warmth of the great man's style.

A haunting tribute to John Jackson, 'Won't You Come & Sing For Me', enhanced by lingering fiddle; the rollicking 'Come On Over To My House' and Jesse Fuller's 'The Monkey & The Engineer' with more superb harp from Wiggins, are further delights on this wonderful set from an artist that I hope to hear a lot more of.

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