Sing Lustily & With Good Courage

Sing Lustily & With Good Courage

by Maddy Prior


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Maddy Prior's second recording with the Carnival Band (the first being A Tapestry of Carols) is a celebration of hymns by such figures as John Bunyan (1628-1688), Charles Wesley (1707-1788), et al., dating from the year 1700, when they were still not fully legitimate within either the Anglican or nonconformist churches in England. This isn't the wild and woolly sound of Steeleye Span, but something much more studied, coming out of a serious music tradition. Prior's solo singing, as on "As Pants the Hart," is as good as any on her Steeleye Span albums, but a lot more restrained and purposeful; some of the ensemble vocals, as on "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing," are very pretty. Most of the material here is still sung today, although the instrumentation -- including lutes, mandolin, tabors, and 19th century bassoon -- has changed in use. "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending" is one of the prettier pieces here, and a few, like "How Firm a Foundation," dating from the late 18th century, recall counterparts from the American religious experience.

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