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Suzzy Roche & Lucy Wainwright RocheSuzzy Roche & Lucy Wainwright Roche
Album: Fairytale And Myth
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11
Website: http://www.lucywainwrightroche.com
Website: http://www.suzzyroche.com

This mother-and-daughter teaming is a gently powerful and poignant one, and in this album-length collaboration with their friend, the late musician and songwriter Rob Morsberger, we get the tender, beautiful, warmly intimate side of the Roches rather than the quirky, acerbic side. Six of the eleven songs are Suzzy's own compositions, and these tend to focus on aspects of togetherness and humanity, while suffused with a feeling of loss and of being lost; they also embrace a quiet determination in the face of everything, and each of them is both a delicate, economic expression of these sentiments and a puzzled exploration of the nature of reality (which is often dangerously close to myth).

Musical settings (courtesy of Rob) are soft-centred yet unsentimental, with simply managed and unpretentiously appealing piano-centred arrangements (with touches of accordion, organ and strings) that suit Suzzy and Lucy's combined and individual voices perfectly. Rob's own song Everyone Wants To Be Loved, which in its clever allegorical retelling of the Greek legend of Ariadne places it in a contemporary context, might well be regarded as the album's almost-title song, in expressing a less than reassuring view of the chance of a happy ending. This track turns out to be a highlight among an album of highlights, a defiantly persuasive defining moment with a very special kind of emotional import. Suzzy and Lucy exert a comparable spell on the listener with the album closer, Mark Johnson's When A Heart Breaks Down. Just one of the highlights in between these points is Suzzy and Lucy's insightful, exquisitely harmonised cover of Paul McCartney's For No-One, which cleverly shifts the song's responsive focus in keeping with the other songs on the album, almost incidentally harking back to the dichotomy of disc opener Broken Stemmed Tenderness. Loudon Wainwright III himself joins the ladies on a song of his own, When I'm At Your House, which is the nearest the album comes to wry humour - we get the message "loudon" clear, but I do feel that the track doesn't quite fit the scheme of things.

On the surface, the album might be viewed as a memorial to Rob, whose diagnosis of terminal cancer in 2011 spurred Suzzy to ask to work with him once more. Rob died in June 2013, not all that long after the recording sessions - but the record stands as a celebration of his talent as much as anything else. And all the while that it chronicles Suzzy's own magical experience of working with Rob, the album also proves a magical experience for the listener.

David Kidman