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Various Artists Folk Awards 2009 Review

Compilation. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

It's another vital addition to the series.

Daryl Easlea 2009

As the CD compilation market grows tinier and more fractured, the annual collection that accompanies the annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards becomes more indispensable. Like the Rough Trade Counter Culture CD which brings together the best in indie, this 24-track gathering of all the nominees is the one-stop shop for the folk uninitiated and a perfect round-up for the aficionado.

Compiled by the show's Executive Producer, John Leonard, the collection reveals the music's quiet supremacy and the wide spectrum it covers. From the traditional Fakenham Fair – lovingly recreated by Bellowhead – to the album's pop hits; Julie Fowlis' beautiful Gaelic reading of the Beatles' Blackbird and Jim Moray's updating of Andy Partridge's sea shanty, All You Pretty Girls, it is a record of an eventful year in the genre.

Seth Lakeman's tale of the 1981 Penlee lifeboat tragedy, Solomon Browne, demonstrates the music's essential enshrining of social history. Lifetime Award winner Judy Collins' Born To The Breed brings gravitas to the proceedings. It's also introduces the listener to gems such as Chilly Winds by The Shee or The Good Old Days by The Demon Barbers.

The CD comes with a 6-track bonus disc of all the Young Folk Awards finalists, won this year by Megan and Joe Henwood. When you consider previous winners include Cara Dillon, Julie Fowlis and Rachel Unthank, you can see the pedigree.

Folk Awards 2009 has an appropriate mix of light and shade, education and entertainment, comedy and tragedy. It's another vital addition to the series.

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