Cath and Phil Tyler

Dumb Supper

by David Maine

3 June 2011


Anglo-American acoustic balladry

cover art

Cath and Phil Tyler

Dumb Supper

US: 10 Feb 2008
UK: 3 Mar 2003

Cath and Phil Tyler offer a range of traditional tunes and ballads in the English folk tradition, ranging from the dirge-like opener “Wether’s Skin” to the (relatively) uptempo “Farewell My Friends”. Cath Taylor’s voice shares the laconic tone of Steeleye Span’s Maddy Prior, though without Prior’s sweetness or range. When Phil adds his vocals to hers, as in the a cappella “Queen Sally”, the resulting harmonies are muscular and convincing. The duo successfully immerses itself in the dark themes and somber acoustic arrangements of the material, limiting itself to guitars, vocals and occasional banjo or cello. When the Tylers plug in the amplifiers for the surprising “Morning”, the results are powerful and unexpected. Despite a certain muddines from the lo-fi recording, this is a strong record showing that there is much life yet in the Anglo-folk tradition.

Dumb Supper


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