Various Artists, The Bird in the Bush: Traditional Songs of Love and Lust

Steve Hochman

By Steve Hochman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
English folk songs put the coy back in coitus.

Expanded from a 1966 E.P, shared by A.L. Lloyd and the fabulous Anne Briggs, "The Bird in the Bush" moves puts the coy back in coitus — a shock in these X-rated times, perhaps — with a wealth of naughtiness and ribaldry woven into sometimes very involved tales a la the opening "The Two Magicians" (performed by Lloyd with Dave Swarbrick). So it's not always subtle (you mean "The Bonny Black Hare" is not really about a rabbit? "Gather Roses in the Month of May" is not about picking flowers?) Say no more. Noteworthy that in deference to the morality of the times in which these songs originated, many of the dalliances and temptations of these ballads lead tragically to destitution, violence and death, as in "Pretty Polly," heard here in Briggs'fine voice.