Gig review: Eliza Carthy & Jim Moray, Summerhall, Edinburgh

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Celebrating 20 and ten years respectively of impacting on the English folk scene, Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray were backed by the splendid, dozen-strong Wayward Band, including drums, percussion, fiddles, cello and brass.

Eliza Carthy & Jim Moray

Summerhall, Edinburgh

Star ratign: * * *

Moray’s voice is probably the more contemporary in style, rock-inflected in delivery, but well able to tell a song with passion and conviction. The problem which raised its hoary old head was that of song versus accompaniment, with clarity suffering. Moray’s passionate delivery of Sweet England, for instance, was shackled to full-blown instrumentation; similarly with Leaving Australia, initially articulated with clarity but still battling the band. In contrast, The Douglas Tragedy, accompanied only by his own guitar and effective vocal harmony from fiddler Lucy Farrell came over with real feeling.

Owing to the concert starting an hour later than billed, Yorkshire’s finest, the rich-voiced Eliza Carthy was still in full, ebullient flight as this went to press, but she opened in plaintive form with a lullaby, accompanied only by fiddle and melodeon, and went on to deliver old favourites such as Worcester City and Cold Blow, as well as a calypso learned from her mother, delivered with a wit and rumbustious panache which suited the full-blown band.

An undoubted highlight of a spirited, if sometimes acoustically overwhelming evening, was her poised and still delivery of the late Mike Waterson’s beautiful song Jack Frost, accompanied just by strings.