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Made up of top UK female folk, jazz and blues recording acts Christine Collister, Melanie Harold, Julie Matthews, Helen Watson and Chris While Daphne’s Flight are an incredible collection of talent. Aided by deft instrumentation provided by their good selves it ensures the songs are delivered, with guile and the focal point is the wondrous singing of the ladies (lead and harmony) throughout. Knows Time, Knows Change is the ensemble's second recording, following, two decades later their self-titled debut, Daphne's Flight (1996), and memorable stage debut in 1995, at the Cambridge Folk Festival.
Mellow, gentle and caressing they take turns in singing lead, and with seamless harmonies a given the listener is served ten wonderful compositions. It is like the ladies were siblings, and with each act possessing, a long and outstanding history the record oozes class. Each artiste sings lead on two tracks, and with the group’s own material supplemented by a cover of Elvis Costello – Clive Langer’s “Shipbuilding”, Michael Kennedy’s “Lay Fallow” and “How Glad I Am” (a song that’s also been covered as (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am” by Maria Mckee, Bonnie Bramlett etc; and as the former by a wide range of artists ranging from Nancy Wilson to Olivia Newton-John by way of Fontella Bass, Brenda Lee and Aretha Franklin. You are talking some big shoes to fill, and with Watson at her mercurial best, and the accompaniment from Matthews and While world class the track is a hard one to follow!
With a continual flow of quality fare, and a thread intact connecting the material as Collister’s “Goodness Of Mann” and Harrold’s spare (lead, harmony vocals and piano) styled version of “Shipbuilding” is followed by Matthews (joined by While) on the spirited “Count Me In”. If this song doesn’t grab your attention and make you sit up nothing will. “Let My Ship Come In” (Watson, Mark Creswell) is an intricate and beautifully affair, as you have more graceful work from Matthews and While accompany Watson as she generates a feel of open waters. “Heart Of Stone” (While) has all the beauty and more of something you might hear from Beth Neilsen Chapman. With the songs awash in beautiful harmonies and sensitive lyrics, interpretations I am sure many will find comfort and peace in their music.
Of a more urgent and infectious, demanding feel Harrold’s “My Heart 2” is one of the album’s more engaging tracks, and with hints of a familiar melody dynamic and to a degree complex tracks! I love the keyboards (Matthews) and hearty harmony vocals from the other acts; it is also one of those songs that grow on one.
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