Reviewed by Dave Brassington
The King's Singers first got together in 1968 and this album was released in their 40th anniversary year. The personnel have changed many times in those 40 years but the sound hasn't, this album continues their great reputation as an acappella group (voices only) with spot on intonation, fabulous vocal blend, exciting harmonies, clear diction and timing. The King's Singers' repertoire (they have recorded over 100 albums) ranges from early and renaissance music through to modern pop and jazz. This recording is their first non-classical album for 10 years. The title suggests that it has a spiritual/folk theme, but it is clear to see from the range of tracks that this is not the case, instead, according to the sleevenotes, songs were chosen for their beautiful tunes, so melody is the key here. The listener is treated to arrangements of King Henry VIII's "Greensleeves", through to "When She Loved Me", written by Randy Newman for the Walt Disney movie Toy Story. Those beautiful, high-church voices also make commendable stabs at Sting's "Valparaiso", "The Gift To Be Simple" and three old spirituals, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot", "Deep River" and "Steal Away", all performed beautifully. If you have never sampled the riches of quality acappella singing, this would be a wonderful place to start.
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