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Norma Waterson and Liza Carthy, Chapel Arts Bath, Nov 4

November 5, 2010

Robin Denselow says most of what needs to be said about this set, reviewing a London gig a few nights earlier. But he dwells a little on the (lengthy!) background and doesn’t say enough about how spine-tinglingly splendid it is to hear the two voices fill a live performance space. The sound in Bath’s answer to London’s Union Chapel was superb, and the way mother and daughter harmonised and interwined as if they have been doing it all their lives was transfixing. Norma is still in splendid voice and Liza’s is astonishingly similar, but just a shade darker.

Add a neat backing band (with dad sitting in the rear playing a little guitar but mainly just looking delighted), a full house, some laughs in the links (“it is a ballad if an animal talks”) and a rich collection of songs and stories, and this was just about a perfect evening, even though my elderly but enthusiastic neighbour knew all of them, joined in with most, and was plainly tone deaf. You don’t get that on the CD. But you don’t get the impact of hearing those voices making their unique music in front of you either. Unmatchable

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