Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Island of the Strong Door
Genres: Folk, World Music, Pop, Rock
Good Personal Words, Music, and Performances
B. Marold | Bethlehem, PA United States | 06/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"`The Island of the Strong Door' in 1999 and `Ring Dance' in 1998 are two relatively recent Robin Williamson solo albums, both on his own label, Pig's Whisker Music. Unlike his fabled recordings with the Incredible String Band between 1967 and 1974, his duet albums with John Renbourn and ISB colleague Mike Heron, and his recordings for the German ECM label, these are all very personal performances. Virtually all the words and music were written by Williamson and most were written in the 1990s. One important exception is `Veshengro' on `Ring Dance' which was done by The Incredible String Band.
These are much more adult works than the typical ISB fare. And, they are just a bit less cerebral than the recordings of words by Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, William Blake, and Henry Vaughan.
The biggest question you probably need answered is that if I am an Incredible String Band fan OR if I am a Robin Williamson fan, will I like these albums? The answer to the second of these two questions is certainly `Yes'. The answer to the first question is a lot harder. I am a long time ISB fan, having bought `The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion' when it was FIRST RELEASED ON VINYL as an LP! And, I bought every one of their other albums as soon as they came out. But, when I recently got these two albums for the first time, I was just a tad disappointed. They are not as difficult as the ECM collections, but they do seem just a bit self-absorbed. The ISB childlike innocence and charm is gone, replaced with `songs of experience'.
But, I have come around and find I enjoy these almost as much as I do the lesser ISB albums. For starters, Williamson's finest instrument, his voice, has maturity to it and there is a better match between words and vocal interpretation. The instrumental work is also of a uniformly high quality. This is good, as it makes up just a bit for the loss of the air of childlike joy.
If you had to pick one, `Ring Dance' may be just a little better for the new version of `Veshengro' and the musky sax accompaniments on `At Waverley Station'.
Solid album of new work
B. Marold | 09/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This record is one of many that Robin has produced in the past few years, and it certainly is one of the best. It is not a match for the likes of "Glint" or "Songs of Love & Parting", but this is a very solid & atmospheric album that gives us finely honed lyrics and a feeling that we're listening to stories by a kind stranger while watching a late night fire.The album starts off with "Love letter to my wife Bina" which is quite nice, but not very captivating, I think, and this holds true for the second song, "Scaldlaw", as well. "Billy & the Scrapper" is a fine song, relating how two prize fighters each attempt to ease their misery by trying to win fights, lit by the cool, cruel car lights of the well-off. The emotionally most gripping songs in this collection are "To God in God's absence" and "Late in the evening", while "In four quarters of the world" has great atmosphere and "Daughter's dance" recalls his highly original "Fair Dance". The title song "Island of the Strong Door" is a fitting album-closer, a tribute to the harp with deep folk roots and the Williamson touch that makes it come alive. Hans Wigman"