The Wild Wild Berry is without hesitation my favourite album this month. This press spiel says that the songs were found on old records, and chosen not only for the sake of the music, but “on the basis of something unique about the original recordings,” which is relevant because both the singer and the guitarist have incorporated an old-recording fragility into their performances, a veering simple fickleness. Hladowski’s voice clamps down on the ‘ng’ at the end of “morning” in the lyrics to “George Collins” like an amateur glad to have reached the safety of a word-ending, and Joynes supporting her on the title song with a very plain one-two one-two, but, note, this is deliberate.
You have the terror-play of listening to an inexperienced singer — will the song fall apart on the next chord? — and at the same time being able to tell that Hladowski is not inexperienced, only borrowing a vulnerability that experience has tried to hide from her. All of the songs are traditional and English: a typical description on the inlay goes like this: “‘The Dark-Eyed Sailor’ is from a recording of the singing of Jack Clark made in 1947 by E.J. Moeran at the Eel’s Foot in Eastbridge, Suffolk.” The Eel’s Foot still exists and folk singing continues on the premises every Thursday night.