No One Stands Alone

No One Stands Alone

Martin Carthy, along with various members of the Watersons and the Scottish folk group Swan Arcade, formed Blue Murder to play a one-off benefit concert for a local school in 1986. And that, they thought, was that. But their a cappella renditions of traditional songs and hymns were such a hit that the band became something of a fixture at various folk festivals over the years. <I>No One Stands Alone</I> is Blue Murder's belated debut recording, and it perfectly captures the good-natured spontaneity of the band's performances. The membership of the group has always been fluid, and this version includes Martin Carthy, his daughter Eliza Carthy, Norma Waterson and her brother Mike, and the trio Barry Coope, Jim Boyes, and Lester Simpson. The tracks include hymns like "Stars in My Crown," which the group belts out with an open-throated gusto that recalls Sacred Harp singing, old ballads like "Gown of Green," and songs composed by various band members. Martin Carthy supplies very understated guitar accompaniment occasionally, but for the most part the performances are a cappella. The members of Blue Murder obviously get a kick out of singing together and their joy shines through on every song. <I>--Michael Simmons</I>