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Not Pete Atkin >> Off-topic >> Favourite Artists: Sarah McLachlan
(Message started by: Leslie Moss on Today at 14:31)

Title: Favourite Artists: Sarah McLachlan
Post by Leslie Moss on Today at 14:31
Once upon a time - old MV list days - people used to share their opinions of other artists, in the (probably vain) expectation that this might shed some light on why we are all PA/CJ fans.

There didn't seem to be any pattern - with the possible exception of Becker/Fagan - so it sort of fizzled out. Nevertheless this seems as good a way of avoiding work as any other, so let me revive the old tradition and name perhaps the only other artist who had such an effect on me when I heard her for the first time as Pete. I was looking on the web for an MP3 of Angels by Robbie Williams and instead found myself downloading Angel by Sarah McLachlan. One listen and I was hooked, and have been listening to her voice and music ever since.

A voice to die for - creamy, emotional and heart-breaking.  And songs that explore the darker side of relationships and feelings, mixed-in with the feelgood ones. I defy anyone to listen to Surfacing, her masterwork album, without shedding a tear. Tracks like Building a Mystery, Adia and Angels - I get choked just thinking about them. Actually, I can't think of a bad track of hers from any of her first four albums.

Next time she's touring the UK I fully intend to be in the audience.


Title: Re: Favourite Artists: Sarah McLachlan
Post by BogusTrumper on 04.10.06 at 15:42
That is a difficult one.  Different artists have different areas of importance.  The social/political aspects of music have always been of interest to me, and for that there were atrysists other than Pete and Clive.  And when discussing music from that era (especially in the States) knowing the complete works of Pete Atkin and quoting them left, right and ceter does not get you very far.  Which I guess is one reason I use lines in my sigs on other message boards frequently - hoping someone will ask "Where does that come from".

Sad to say, they rarely do.

Title: Re: Favourite Artists: June Tabor
Post by Richard Bleksley on 06.10.06 at 01:13
Nice idea for a thread, Leslie. I think I'll join in. I believe I have mentioned before on this forum, more or less in passing, my admiration for June Tabor.

Okay, so she's a folk singer. No, she's not: she's a lot more than that. True, that's where she started from; but she has struck out quite a way since then.  Her choice of contemporary material is eclectic and impeccable - she does a lot of Richard Thompson songs, and her interpretations of Eric Bogle are renowned. Her latest album, At The Wood's Heart, even contains a Duke Ellington song.

Okay, so she doesn't write nor even play an instrument: she "only" sings. But Lord, how she sings!  She has possibly the most stunning voice I've ever heard, rich and smooth as double cream, strong and pure and true; and she sings with an eloquent expressiveness that gets right inside a song and a controlled, simmering passion that can raise the hair on the back of your neck. When singing reaches this level of artistry greatness demands nothing more.

Actually, words begin to fail me. You really need to hear her. It has even been suggested that the quality of its reproduction of her singing is a valid test of how good an audio system is.

A good starting point is the retrospective album Anthology. (All her solo album titles begin with "A." She is the only person who knows why, and she ain't telling.) It's a good mixture - the material is about 50-50 traditional and contemporary, and the arrangements range all the way from the stark, impassioned acapella of Lay This Body Down to a stomping rock version of Richard Thompson's Night Comes In.

She does have a reputation for choosing rather sombre material, but, considering the subject matter of many of Clive's lyrics, I don't suppose many of you would have a problem with that. Personally, I would dearly love to hear her have a go at A Hill of Little Shoes - though I might not be able to hear the results without crying.

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