Review Archive

‘Singing Out’ a folk narrative by David Burke "... well worth your hard-earned cash"

(April 06, 2015)

The postman delivers another package to FolkWords, and ‘Hurrah!’ it’s another publication from Soundcheck Books, purveyors of the ‘stories behind the sounds’. This time it’s ‘Singing Out’ by David Burke, which describes itself as ‘a folk narrative’ … and that’s pretty much accurate, especially if your interest in folk music makes you want to delve below the surface. It’s not a ‘dry as dust’ folk history, neither is it a detailed biography nor a critical appraisal, it is however, a well-written interesting account that examines and reveals tales, anecdotes and narrations surrounding three of folk’s most distinguished and exalted singers – Maddy Prior, June singingout-72Tabor and Linda Thompson.

Burke’s book leads you through various facets of their individual musical journeys, more in the style of personal conversations and observations rather than a date-by-date chronicle. It includes interviews with Maddy, June and Linda, some of their personal reflections on life and music plus thoughts and comments from their friends and contemporaries. Aside from being a supremely easy read, ‘Singing Out’ has that enjoyable ‘dip-in dip-out’ quality that allows the reader to settle down for an hour or three, select individual chapters or simply check out snippets; you can always read it from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoy the experience too.

‘Singing Out’ comes with three short sections of colour and mono photographs ranging from obvious publicity shots to personal snaps, some of which provide knowing little insights into their subjects. There’s also sections of ‘Essential Listening’, which albeit the author’s subjective views, are more or less what most of us would choose plus a Discographies section covering the work of the individuals, various bands and collaborations.  

So, the ultimate question is always should you purchase a copy of ‘Singing Out’? Yes you should, because it’s well worth some of your hard-earned cash, and you can’t say that about every investment.

‘Singing Out’ by David Burke is published by Soundcheck Books

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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