Unexpected not only in song choice – folk chestnuts such as Barbara Allen, The Golden Vanity and Long Lankin – but also in the jaunty backing to the tragic and gory narratives. This represents a coming of age release. The authority Roberts injects into his assured story-telling makes even the best-known song sound self-penned. Barbara Allen - ever a tedious ballad and one of Dylan's most irritating early efforts - is stunning; Long Lankin rivals the classic Carthy-Swarbrick or Steeleye Span interpretations. Power in part comes from the arrangements and instrumentation which roil and build, sometimes approaching a folk rock stomp - check The Burning of Auchindoun. Influences are now less the quirky or the mystic ruminations of Robin Williamson, and more high period Martin Carthy with a touch of Swarb and a dash of Hutchings, alongside all of whom Roberts now stands as (near) equal.
Without pandering to folk cliche, it's his most accessible album to date . Truly masterful.
Oddi wrth y brawd
what put the blood on your right shoulder, son?