Chaplin's masterpiece, Smile, Dickson is clearly having a ball. She's been thinking about covering the Gerry Goffin and Carole King song Goin' Back for three decades, and it's been worth the wait. Meanwhile, she gives Archie Fisher's Witch of the Westermerlands another run-out, having first recorded it when she started out. She also acknowledges her past by selecting a song, Disremember Me, by one of her old musical partners, Charlie Dore.
But it's with the traditional tunes that this album really takes flight. Rigs O' Rye, The Water Is Wide (O Waly Waly) and Lady Franklin's Lament sound simply glorious as the vocals and instruments soar and swoop around each other.
'MAVERICK MAGAZINE' - May 2008
Barbara Dickson remains one of the greatest British female singers ever. She started out in the Scottish folk clubs back in the late 1960s, years before she became a highly successful pop singer. For this latest album she returns to those traditional folk roots, but with the help of producer/arranger Troy Donockley brings a contemporary feel to the whole project. Alongside the traditional songs - 'Lowlands of Holland', 'Rigs o' Rye', 'Lady Franklin's Lament' - there are a handful of contemporary songs. The underrated Charlie Dore is represented with 'Disremember Me', Barbara penned the reflective 'Palm Sunday' and there's a stunning version of Carole King's 'Goin' Back'.
'FOLK ROOTS MAGAZINE' - May 2008
Barbara revisits her Scottish folk roots and some pop/show standards in collaboration with Troy Donockley. That means abundantly classy settings in the creative electro-rock-folk vein, steering between sublime (Rigs o 'Rye) and saccharine (Lady Franklin's Lament). Most importantly, though, Barbara's still in magnificent voice and a superb interpreter.
'ROCK 'N' REEL MAGAZINE' - August 2008 (Review by Dai Jeffries)
Its working title, 'Full Circle 2', will be sufficient to tell Barbara's fans what this record is about - ten songs that mean a lot to her and producer Troy Donockley. It also marks a continuation of her re-engagement with her traditional roots.
It's not a record that will alienate fans of her pop persona, however. 'Disremember Me' and 'Goin' Back' together with her own 'Palm Sunday' will reassure them that all is well while those of us who still think of Barbara as a folkie from the west of Scotland will be more than happy with her new setting of 'Witch Of The Westmerlands'. Only ten tracks, but they are big, long enough to develop musical ideas to the full and, with Donockley and Pete Zorn doing the work of ten musicians, that space is vital.
Top track is possibly 'Lady Franklin's Lament' with choristers from Ampleforth Abbey. It could have dissolved into schamltz but it's absolutely perfect. The richness of Barbara's voice gives 'Rigs O' Rye' an odd gravitas and both the opening 'Lowlands Of Holland' and 'The Water Is Wide' are gorgeous. I'm not sure about 'Smile' but this collection is Barbara's own choice and who am I to argue?
'FOLKING.COM' - February 2008 (Review by Pete Fyfe)
The success of any true collaboration comes initially from taking your first tentative steps on a slackened tightrope (in this case since 1992) until the partnership has been cemented with a mutual trust in the person you are going to be relying on.
Such is the case with Barbara Dickson and her now musical director Troy Donockley. Originally established as the spectacular Uilleann pipes player in the powerful Celtic-Rock band You Slosh, Donockley’s multi-instrumental prowess – he is credited with eight instruments on this recording – provides the textural light and shade throughout the album.
The addition of stalwarts Pete Zorn (Sax), Phil Cunningham (Piano Accordion) with Brad Lang (Bass) and Frank Van Essen (Violin) will I’m sure be enough to fulfil most ‘folk’ audiences requisite criteria and the stirring traditional tracks including “Lowlands Of Holland”, “The Water Is Wide” and “Lady Franklin’s Lament” will bring to mind Eddi Reader’s recent re-acquaintance with her Scottish heritage.
Dickson’s mellow tones are well suited to the material… none more so than on the beautiful Charlie Chaplin perennial “Smile” and the inclusion of her own self-penned “Palm Sunday” which, will I’m sure satisfy the needs of her more contemporary fanbase.
This is an album that has been artfully crafted and may therefore require more than the cursory listen Barbara’s popular songs such as “January, February” or “Another Suitcase…” have provided in the past. It’s certainly more daring…and all the better for it.
TIME AND TIDE (2008)
'HMV CHOICE' - March/April 2008 (Review by Helen Jerome)
After her 40 years in the business, you'd think it would be easy to predict what Barbara Dickson would do next. But, as this album proves once again, she's not one to rest on her laurels. Yes, she's come up with a rich mixture of traditional numbers, plus one self-penned tune (Palm Sunday) and some tried and tested favourites.
But what makes 'Time And Tide' truly special is the ethereal, quite stunning singing of the Scola Cantorum and Scola Puellarum of Ampleforth Abbey, underpinned by the wonderfully precise, yet spacious, arrangements by Dickson and her producer, Troy Donockley. Plus, of course, the spirited playing of some of their favourite musicians, like accordionist Phil Cunningham, violinist Frank Van Essen and Donockley on everything else.
From the first old Scottish number, Lowlands of Holland, through to Charlie