Mandy Morton & Spriguns - Magic Lady
After losing their place at Decca, (or forgoing it to go indie as claimed by the liner notes) Spriguns was, for all intents and purposes, disbanded and retooled as Mandy Morton & Spriguns. The result of this creative re-structuring was the Morton/Sprigun groups best album yet, Magic Lady. Singer, songwriter Mandy Morton takes center stage as Magic Lady is clearly more of a solo effort with Spriguns now merely a back-up band, and Morton lives up to her new top billing with a beautifully crafted and mature effort that finds her moving stylistically from the ranks of would be Maddy Prior's to a worthy successor to Sandy Denny - the talent against whom all folk songstresses are eventually compared and to whom the album is dedicated. (Ms. Denny passed away during the recording of what was originally going to be titled "Music Prince".)
Lush, though not opulent, arrangements augment a fine collection of tunes - for the first time in their discography, there's not a sub-par track to be found. If there's to be any complaint it would be that Morton's vocals still occasionally lack emotional conviction, her laid back style sometimes seems to hold her songs back a bit. Restraint is a wonderful tool that many of today's divas would be wise to learn to use but Mandy Morton's songs are so expertly crafted and lyrically rich you can't help but wish she'd invest a bit more of herself emotionally within them.
A fine effort and a must buy for fans of classic UK folk.