It’s some time ago now that Sweet England thundered on to the UK folk scene, momentum like an express train on a collision course to alter the very foundation of the tradition. Since then, Moray has continued to experiment, with some staggering results – however this album is from start to finish his most consistent, his most accomplished.
The record kicks off on what could be considered familiar territory, with a superb take on ‘The Captains Apprentice’. It is a sign of things to come as the album set is made up of mostly traditional numbers given the Moray treatment. Further standouts include a stark Acapella version of the Percy Grainger collected ‘Horkstow Grange’ – which really shows off Moray’s vocal ability, and the 7+ minute ‘Lord Douglas’, which not only has Jim’s fine musicianship skills in evidence, but also brings in some of his outstanding contemporaries including sister Jackie Oates on vocals and Accordion maestro Andy Cutting.
The most interesting of all the tracks for me however is not one of the traditional numbers – but a version of Lindsay Buckingham’s ‘Big Love’. The track – famous for Buckingham’s outstanding acoustic guitar rendition is on this record brilliant played by Jim on Banjo. It instantly changes the track in to a folk song – a simple yet completely original piece of arranging.
This album should serve Jim Moray very well – now close to being a decade in to his recording career. I would expect award nominations aplenty for many of the tracks on here, and as always with this artist, the excitement is already brewing as to what he’ll do next.