Martin and Eliza Carthy – The Moral of the Elephant
The first recorded collaboration between influential folk musician Martin Carthy and his daughter, twice nominee of the Mercury prize for UK album of the year, Eliza Carthy, more than lives up to the promise of their accomplished stage performances. Swollen with the pure sounds of Martin’s guitar and Eliza’s fiddle, The Moral of the Elephant manages to subvert traditional stresses and rhythms with breathtaking ease and simplicity.
Opening with Her Servant Man, Martin takes the foreground with both instrumental and vocals falling mainly into his capable hands. Eliza’s fiddle provides a gentle afterthought in this track, promising more to come as the album progresses. It’s a relaxed album that demonstrates not only their expertise but the ease and familiarity definitive to this collaboration. Sure enough, Eliza’s rich croon is shown off fully in the second track, Happiness – a soft, almost melancholy beginning to the album that settles the listener in for the long haul.
The title track, The Elephant, is adapted from a poem by John Godfrey Saxe, and this theme continues with a host of covers and songs taken from past traditional music, each given new life by the Carthy’s confidence and skill in making each song their own. The Queen of Hearts perfectly showcases the duo’s ability to both give their all to a duet whilst managing to not overshadow but rather complement the other beautifully – aided, no doubt, by the minimalist, characteristically fiddly (pardon the pun) instrumental.
A fantastic debut for the pair as a first recorded release, with the autographed special edition releases sold out within days. Despite Martin’s increasingly rare recordings, there will hopefully be more where this came from.
The Moral of the Elephant was released on 2nd June 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Eliza Carthy’s website here.
To listen to Martin and Eliza Carthy talk about The Moral of the Elephant, watch here: