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Bill Jones


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Contemporary and traditional folk

Status:

Most recent release Two Year Winter (2003)

See also:

Bill Jones official site

Compass Records' Bill Jones page

Bill Jones also performed with group Faire Winds

Comparisons:

Kate Rusby, June Tabor

Covers/own material:

Mostly traditional, some covers and some of her own compositions

General comments:

There are a fair number of singers who sing traditional British songs, so why might you choose to listen to Bill (Belinda) Jones in addition to or even instead of all the others? The overall freshness of her sound. She doesn't have a traditionally beautiful voice—it's a little reedy though still can sound full-throated and strong—but she's well able to make it sound lively, lilting, haunting, angry, or dreamy as her material calls for. She's a straight interpreter of the sings and uses fairly simple backing. There's a lovely purity yet expressiveness to her presentation of her material, which helps her avoid the treacly sweetness and new-agey feel of so many other interpreters. She can be spare, haunting, lovely, and playful. I find her music quite captivating. (Neile)

Recommended first album:

Any, but Panchpuran is my personal favourite. (Neile)

Recordings:


Turn To Me

Release info:

2000—Bedspring Music (U.K.)—Boing 0008CD; Compass Records (U.S.)—4338

Availability:

U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Bill Jones—vocals, piano, accordion, flutes, alto whistle, D whistle

Guest artists:

Simon Haworth—guitar, cittern
Saskia Tomkins—fiddle, cello
Bruce Davis—string arrangement on 1 track
Mike Frankland—rhythm on 1 track

Produced by:

Brian Bedford

Comments:

A lovely collection of songs (and three tunes), including "The Handsome Cabin Boy", "Young Waters" and Buffy Ste Marie's "Universal Soldier". A mix of lively and plaintive material: charming, clearly and cleanly presented. Bill Jones has an engaging voice and singing style. This is a highly enjoyable and often affecting collection. (Neile)

Panchpuran

Release info:

2001—Brick Wall Music—BRICK 002CD; Compass Records (U.S.)—4318

Availability:

U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Bill Jones—vocals, accordion, whistle, piano, harmony vocals

Guest artists:

Barry Coope—harmony vocals
Jim Boyes—harmony vocals
Lester Simpson—harmony vocals
Keith Angel—percussion
String Quartet on 2 tracks:
     Timo Alakotila—arrangements, direction
     Matti Mäkelää—1st violin
     Anni Järvelä—2nd violin
     Keilka Hakasalo—viola
     Marion Göbel—cello
Kathryn Tickell—fiddle
Kelli While—harmony vocals
Shanti Paul Jayasinha—fluglehorn,
Jacey Bedform—harmony vocals
David Wood—guitar
Brass Ensemble on 1 track:
     Adrian Biddulph—arrangement, direction
     Bryan Tait, Nicola Williamson, Alan Catherall, Bob Temple—cornets
     Linda Cook—tenor horm
     Jim Thompson—baritone
     Paul Robinson—Euphonium
     Chris Bentham, Garry Reed—trombones<
     Dave McKay—Eb bass

Produced by:

Karen Tweed

Comments:

This album has a greater range than Turn to Me, in sound and mood: there's a greater range of instrumentation and additional backing vocals, and there's also some a cappella singing. Her versions of "William Taylor", "The Tale of Tam Lin", "The Barley and The Rye" are all wonderful, as is the rest of this album. It still has the freshness, but is also richer. The title track is especially lovely—written by Bill Jones, sung a capella, about the immigration experience of her Anglo-Indian aunt who moved from India to England in her youth. (Neile)

bits & pieces EP

Release info:

2001—Brick Wall Music—Brick 003CD; also released in a set with Two Year Winter by Compass Records (U.S.)—7 4366 2

Availability:

U.K., or in the U.S. Two Year Winter set

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Bill Jones fans

Group members:

Bill Jones—vocals, accordion, piano, whistle

Guest artists:

Kathryn Tickel—fiddle, viola
Shnati Paul Jayasinha—cello
David Wood—guitar
Keith Angel—percussion

Produced by:

Bill Jones (3 tracks), Karen Tweed (1 track)

Comments:

4-track EP, two songs of which also appear in live versions on Live at the Live. All four are well worth hearing. (Neile)

Live at the Live

Release info:

2002—Brick Wall Music—Brick 004CD

Availability:

U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of Bill Jones

Group members:

Bill Jones—vocals, accordion, piano, whistle

Guest artists:

Roger Wilson—guitar, fiddle
Miranda Sykes—double bass, bass guitar, harmony vocals
Keith Angel—drums, percussion

Comments:

Bill Jones live is just as lovely as on album. The versions are similar to the album versions, but with different instrumentation for this band configuration. Almost all of the tracks appear on the albums with the exception of—take note, ectophiles,—a cover of Kate Bush's "Never Be Mine", which gave me shivers. The stark setting makes the song really ache. (Neile)

Two Year Winter

Release info:

2003—Brick Wall Music—Brick 004CD; Compass Records (U.S.)—7 4366 2

Availability:

U.S. and U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended for fans of traditional music

Group members:

Bill Jones—vocals, piano, accordion, whistle, flute, "diddling"

Guest artists:

David Wood—guitar
Stewart Hardy—violin
Sarah Wright—flute
Miranda Sykes—harmony vocals, double bass
Shanti Paul Jayashinha—cello, flugelhorn
Keith Angel—djembe, shaker, percussion

Produced by:

Bill Jones

Comments:

Another mix of lively and haunting tunes and a mix of richer and simpler arrangements. Again, mostly traditional materials. This hasn't quite struck me as much as the previous discs but that may simply be because I've listened to it less. (Neile)

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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2014-05-26 15:27:22.
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