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Similarly Requested CDs
A STUNNINGLY EFFECTIVE ACHIEVEMENT
Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 10/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The late British poet and writer Robert Graves was and is one of the most complex and daunting figures in 20th century literature -- yet there is, alongside his thoughtful, scholarly side, an accessability that lives and breathes, which can touch anyone who opens their heart and mind to it. Best known undoubtedly as the author of I, CLAUDIUS, he produced an astonishing array of works in his lifetime -- his peerless work THE WHITE GODDESS has inspired many, and his incredible novel KING JESUS is exceedingly powerful. His poetry, of which these songs are an example, is timeless -- it echoes with strains and themes that are ancient, yet which speak volumes to our hearts and souls in this present age.Setting these poems as songs was no school project. Jay Ansill shows both dedication and courage in even attempting the task -- the level of success he has attained here, with the help of some incredibly talented vocalists and other musicians, illustrates not only his skill as a player, arranger and composer, but show us how important Graves' work has been in his own life.The people at work on this cd represent the cream of contemporary folk music. The vocal talent alone is worth the price of the recording (John Gorka, Anne Hills, Priscilla Herdman, Richard Shindell, John Roberts & Tony Barrand, Cindy Mangsen, Claudia Balant, Jay Ansill). Gifting their amazing instrumental abilities are Ansill (Celtic harp, violin, guitars, mandocello, mandolin, synthesizer), Larry Packer (violin, viola), Abby Newton (cello), Johnny Cunningham (violin), Seamus Egan (flute, accordion, tinwhistle), Larry Cohen (bass), Jeff Berman (drums, percussion), and others. The arrangements and settings -- all by Ansill -- are exquisitely beautiful, always complementary and appropriate to Graves' words. They frame the poems perfectly, never getting in the way.The poems express -- in a style that could be no one else's but Graves' -- views on life, love, the beauty of nature and the nature of beauty...and of humankind. They are uniquely moving -- they touch the core of our sprit.That this disc is so hard to find is one of the great shames of our era. I will state unequivocably that it remains in my permanent 'top twenty' recordings of all time."