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Monday, 26th June 2017
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Red Shoes - Ring Around the Land

North West Folk music clubs picThe cellophane wrapper on Ring Around the Land, the much delayed debut album from midlands based duo Red Shoes is adorned with a trio of recommendations.

''The Angels want to hear these Red Shoes'', ''Folk Album of the Year!'', ''Magical album'', from Maverick, NetRythms and Electric Ghost respectively.

Will the contents of this review feature in any future promotional material? Probably not.

Red Shoes are Carolyn and Mark Evans and on this release they have heavyweight back up in the form of Chris Leslie (Fairport Convention), PJ Wright (Little Johnny England) and Dave Pegg (also Fairport, who both plays and produces.) Given that, the end product is a bit disappointing.

Things start sedately with Celtic Moon. It's pleasant enough, but the writing’s clichéd, the lead vocal too often imprecise and the production predictable.

"It''s sounding a bit thin Dave."
"Ok, let''s stick a bit of mandolin on there."

Keep on Loving You, follows in the same vein. A tip for aspiring song writers: Put the word love or its numerous variations in the title and the resulting ditty has to be stonkingly good to overcome the handicap you’ve just given it.

Things improve in the middle. My Father’s Green Beret is moving and proud, and well served by a sparing piano accompaniment and there’s a neat re-working of Fairport's White Dress (the only non self-penned track.) Some Day We’ll Meet is a well constructed composition, spoiled only by some overly strident fiddle once it gets past the mid-point.

But overall, this album is too one paced and too safe. Things have moved on in the quarter of a century since this couple had originally planned to hit the record stores and it shows. There’s little here that rises above the realms of the ordinary.

Ring Around the Land is in the shops now, but can still be obtained from Red Shoes’s Myspace site. There are sample tracks and links to reviews saying pretty much the opposite to this one. Maybe it’s just me then.


Red Shoes on Myspace

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