PICA Volume 1, 2004 – Review: Black Boxes, Sarah Graves

Recording reviews

Black Boxes. Sarah Graves. Issued privately, MFCD 4 (2001).

Reviewed by ROGER DIGBY

Black Boxes Sarah Graves

I mention this because it is the context for Sarah Graves’s Black Boxes and an explanation for a CD which contains traditional and contemporary tunes and songs from writers in the contemporary folk style as well as from The Travelling Wilbury’s. (Bellamy/Kipling’s very early ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ is here too!).

Sarah plays the English system and plays it very, very well. Because of the context (explained above), it is a very multifaceted CD, and Sarah takes all the elements in her stride. The concert-based approach to the Morris tunes would be as much use to a dancer as a rubber stick, but the arrangements are fine and sensitive and highlight the tunes’ subtle beauty; the driving attack of the session tunes proves Sarah’s versatility and command of her instrument and should be compulsory listening for all those who want to get some real bounce into tunes on the English system; the Anglo’s ‘Concertina Reel’ gets a thorough workout on Sarah’s English. She’s a very good singer too, as her ‘Country Blue’ shows (nice to hear local hero Adrian May’s writing talents getting sound recognition!) One of the perks of reviewing is that sometimes something comes along that we might otherwise have missed. A small-issue CD like this could be a case in point; I would consider myself the poorer if I hadn’t heard it. I recommend it.

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