The traditional "Recruited Collier", "Fine Flowers In The Valley," and "Lord Thomas of Winesberry" are all beautifully sung and I like, too, Barbara's treatment of "The Climb," a knowing little song in which Archie Fisher looks behind the singing scenes.
The whole album hangs together, and Barbara's voice has never sounded better. Full marks, too, for the sleeve design.
UK MUSIC PRESS - 1972 (Review by Norman Davison)
Singers with real voice are hard to find in the folk field, but on release this week is one of them, Scotland's Barbara Dickson. Hers is a full-blooded voice and on "From The Beggar's Mantle Fringed With Gold," it is heard to the best advantage.
On Decca SKL 5116, Barbara has selected nine good songs, a bunch of sympathetic, as opposed to accompanying, musicians and the result is a beautiful album. You will forget about the much-touted superstars when you listen to this and appreciate the singer and her song.
Barbara I have heard on record previously, and live, but this time, producer Ray Horricks and engineer Derek Varnals have brought out the presence in her voice. Musicians Archie Fisher on guitar and concertina, Nic Jones on fiddle and guitar, Darryl Runswick on bass and piano and Bill De Mont, cello, put down some integrated backing, with Nic in outstanding form on fiddle. He is the ideal folk group fiddler, never too busy and very subtle.
Archie Fisher's "Witch of the Westmorelands" opens the album in traditional mood, switches to a more sadly romantic vein with his "If I Never, Ever Saw You Again," and follows up with "Recruited Collier", a more sombre piece. Allan Taylor's "The Morning Lies Heavy On Me" is more modern in vein and has an interesting bit of double tracking on vocal. The best track on the album, in my opinion, is "Fine Flowers In The Valley," the traditional song arranged by Barbara, sung in moving style with a nice rhythmic feel to it.
The second half has "Lord Thomas of Winesberry and the King's Daughter," Archie's "The Climb," well up-to-date with the rise of a superstar, then "The Orange and The Blue" and finally Alan Hull's "Winter's Song."
This is a recommended out-of-the-rut album and by way of explanation the title is a supposed saying from James V of Scotland describing the Kingdom of Fife.
HMV CHOICE - July/August 2006 (Review by Helen M Jerome)
Now perhaps best known for singing on Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals like 'Evita', Barbara Dickson originally cut her teeth in the music business as a first-rate folk songstress.
One year after recording her 1969 album 'The Fate o' Charlie' (subtitled 'Songs Of the Jacobite Rebellion') and having extensively toured the north of England, she made her first solo album - 'Do Right Woman' - one half of the value-for-money, two-for-one re-release here, along with 'From The Beggar's Mantle'. The earlier album comprises favourites like the classic Dan Penn/Chips Moman-penned title track made famous by Aretha Franklin, plus traditional numbers all arranged by the singer, including 'The Blacksmith', 'A Lover's Ghost', 'dainty Davie' and 'The Garton Mother's Lullaby'. You can see why this was the beginning of a four decade-long success story.
Four more trad songs are sprinkled through the companion album, gathered from traditional ballad collections, including 'The Recruited Collier', most recently dusted off by Kate Rusby. A fine re-mastered re-release.
FROM THE BEGGAR'S MANTLE... FRINGED WITH GOLD (1972)
'THE SCOTSMAN' - 1972 (Review by Alastair Clark)
After her adventures with orchestral backings and pop-orientated songs, Barbara Dickson returns to a more traditional roost with a new album, "From The Beggar's Mantle" (Decca), which not only strikes a perfect balance between past and present but also serves to clear any blurring of Barbara's identity as a singer.
There are contemporary songs here, it is true, but they are sung without a quasi-American accent and they make a lot of sense within a traditional context. Indeed, Archie Fisher's "Witch of the Westmorelands" could pass as one of the great classically-built narrative ballads that have been handed down through the centuries. Barbara tells this story with impressive authority and the instrumental setting is just right, with Nic Jones fiddling effectively.