Search - Martin Carthy :: Signs of Life

Signs of Life
Martin Carthy
Signs of Life
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

He's been so active with various projects that it's hard to believe that this is Martin Carthy's first solo record in a decade. But some things are worth the wait, and to hear him tackling "Heartbreak Hotel" as a country b...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Martin Carthy
Title: Signs of Life
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Topic Records
Original Release Date: 2/9/1999
Release Date: 2/9/1999
Genres: Country, Folk, World Music, New Age, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Traditional Folk, British & Celtic Folk, Celtic, Celtic New Age
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 714822050326

He's been so active with various projects that it's hard to believe that this is Martin Carthy's first solo record in a decade. But some things are worth the wait, and to hear him tackling "Heartbreak Hotel" as a country blues, or putting a new spin on the Bee Gees' "New York Mining Disaster, 1941" makes you realize that the man just gets better and better. His unique, modal guitar style serves him equally well on a Hoagy Carmichael or a Bob Dylan cover or an epic reinterpretation of the traditional "Prince Heathen." With some sparing additional instrumentation from daughter Eliza and Chris Parkinson, this remains very much Carthy's album, but he brings such a fullness to his sound that you don't need more. Signs of life? More like prime of life.... --Chris Nickson

CD Reviews

Is fatigue a Sign of Life?
Neil Vancans | California USA | 08/30/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I was brought up in a school of thinking that if you cant say anything constructive dont say anything at all, but I felt delivering a 5 star rating to an album that is faded by comparison to Carthy's other work, all of which I have, is not helpful either. The sparkle in Carty's guitar accompniment has been replaced by a more economical approach which fails to punctuate or add vibrance as it has in the past. Check out Prince Heathen which has been reworked by removing some of the notes. This is a shame because its more necessary now, or at least on this album, because Carthy's voice seems less resonant, a little hollow but not yet haunting. I expect the purists prefer the style Carthy seems to have adopted, but perhaps they have problems with the content. Do the Bee Gees and Elvis need to feature here?Its sour grapes for me, the messages I heard on the albums of the past became a part of me, I wanted more of the same and I have no right to expect it, shame. I hope its only me who is disappointed."
Signs of Life is a great record. | Honolulu, HI United States | 02/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As good as any of Carthy's recordings. His guitar playing is generally more spare, but no less dazzling: His tone is large, chunky, and gorgeous, and his time is exciting and strange. Carthy's singing has not gone downhill in the slightest - I would much rather listen to his voice now than 30 years ago. One reviewer has questioned the inclusion of newer songs, although Carthy has recorded great renditions of non-traditional songs throughout the years. (Listen to Nothing Rhymed on Because It's There.) I could do without Heartbreak Hotel and The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, but I like New York Mine Disaster, John Parfit, and especially the delightful Hong Kong Blues. If you'd rather he stick to the old songs, there's still an lp's worth, including a driving Sir Patrick Spens w/Eliza (following Nic Jones' tune), and The Deserter, which is very beautiful.If you like Martin Carthy, you should like this record. If you don't know if you like Martin Carthy, this is a good place to start. The live Life and Limb (w/Dave Swarbrick, featuring an unbelievable Byker Hill) would be better, but it's out of print."
A singer, a guitar, and a great pick of songs... | 10/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"OK, it's simple. Mr. Carthy, his voice, and guitar. A little violin on four songs, harmonica on one. Performed and recorded directly, plainly, clearly. Beautiful and strong. Just listen.And a solid selection of songs- terrific trad stuff, strong performances, and find mixed in some unexpected material. The Bee Gees? Heartbreak Hotel? Hong Kong Blues? Cool. And a great version of The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol. All delivered in a way that makes the whole recording feel a single piece.Quite nice. I like this record"