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World Music CD Reviews Europe

KATE RUSBY

By ALLISON M. BROCK
Published April 19, 2006

10
Compass

10 is a celebration of the last decade of Kate Ruby’s singing career. The queen of English folk offers 14 lovely pieces, including old material culled from past recordings—often presented in new ways (remastered or performed live)—as well as recently composed ballads. Rusby’s approach to songwriting is unusual and refreshing, often taking a traditional folk song, tweaking it lyricically, and rewriting an appropriate melody. Or she starts from scratch and writes her own version. Anyone who can reconfigure folk ballads in these ways (and make them work) is worth a listen.  Some tracks stand out: “I Wish,” in which Rusby croons about the regretted loss of maidenhood; “Sweet Bride,” written by a 16-year-old Rusby, focuses on a lass coaxed by a young man; and “Drowned Lovers,” which Rusby borrowed from influence Nic Jones. Rusby’s sweet voice is backed by many notable folk musicians: Ian Carr, John Doyle, Andy Cutting and Michael McGoldrick, to name some. Whether you’re new to Rusby’s sound or a long-time fan, 10 is ideal, spotlighting a career with much more to come.