Norah Rendell & Brian Miller’s Wait There Pretty One

cover artPut together these two experienced and talented musicians from the folk world, and you get, as you would expect, something above average in terms of performance and taste. Norah Rendell, originally from Vancouver, Canada, toured extensively as the dark princess of the flute and lead vocalist with the band The Outside Track before moving to Ireland to study flute and singing at the Irish Academy of Music and Dance, where she received an MA in Irish Traditional music. She is currently performing with the Doon Ceilidh Band, and it was here she met American guitarist Brian Miller, who also performs in the duo 5 Mile Chase.

So with pedigrees such as this, you can imagine what you might expect to hear. Norah sings superbly and plays the flute like a diamond. The songs and instrumentals are neatly pinned by Brian on guitar, along with guest musicians like Stephani Custer and Nathan Gourley on fiddles — all the material is performed flawlessly.

The album opens with the traditional song “Alexander” teamed with “Paddy Fahy’s Jig.” This is followed by a set of reels “Jackson’s / Heathery Breese.” The third track is an interesting song written by Maria Dunn. It’s called “Heather Down Rd,” and is World War II story about the women who trained fighter pilots in Edmonton, Canada. It is, of course, a love story, as the women fall in love with the “Brylcream boys.” The album returns to more traditional material with songs “In the Town of Castle d’Oliver” and “The Cocks are Crowing” plus some jigs — “Grogan’s / Felix the Cat”– played on the flute.

At the seventh track, the album takes a twist with a traditional Quebecois song “Qui me Passerala le Bois.” If you don”t speak French, you will find a translation of the lyrics in the sleeve notes. A set of reels, “Dinny Delaney’s / Limestone Rock / Lad O’Beirnes” precedes the next song “An Greasai Brog” (the cobbler) set to the tune of “The Milk Market”and sung in Gaelic. Again a translation is included in the sleeve notes. After a set of some more jigs, the album returns to a more commercial sound with a nice cover of the Iris Dement song “Let The Mystery Be.” After a hornpipe and a reel, the album closes quietly with a traditional Scottish lullaby “Oh Can Ye Sew Cushions.”

I thought it was a very good album, although the flow did seem to wander a bit in the middle with the inclusion of a song in French and another in Gaelic. It led me to wonder who might enjoy the album the most. Not that it matters too much; my advice is just buy the album and enjoy the fine singing and musicianship of Norah and Brian.

(Two Tap, 2007)

Peter Massey

Born in 1945, Peter Massey, Senior Writer, is now living in the city of Chester, England with his wife Sandra. Now medically retired he worked for 35 years in the shoe business. He has been a semi-professional musician and singer performing mainly traditional / contemporary folk songs for over 38 years as part of the duo (and sometimes trio) 'The Marrowbones'. His musical interest started at the age of 14 with Rock 'n' Roll and by the time his seventeenth birthday came along he was already playing rock 'n' roll and R&B in and around the local dance venues and clubs such as the Cavern in Liverpool. Thankfully he was saved from the evils of rock 'n' roll when he discovered real music and folk clubs. His collection of recordings houses over 3500 folk songs alone. Other interests and hobbies include Computers and Amateur Radio (he has a class A G4 call sign) His latest project is 'The Little Room Studio' dedicated to making 'live' recordings of folk artists and producing their work on to CD using a portable digital recording studio. To date he has written and composed over 12 folk songs and co-wrote with Gordon Morris another 10 that have been recorded on CD. The song writing has continued and they have another 10 songs in the pipeline not yet recorded to CD. Favourite music / bands at the moment are Steeleye Span, The Battlefield Band, Little Johnny England and Fairport Convention, (in that order), and much admires the work of Martin Carthy, Martin Simpson, Roy Bailey, Vin Garbutt, and Bob Fox, to name but a few! You can visit the crummy Web site here and read about The Marrowbones and how to get your free songbook.

More Posts