Ian Giles -
The Amber Triangle
Wildgoose Records WGS287CD
Ian is an outstanding interpreter of traditional songs.
Ian Giles has the original 'amber voice'; rich, resonant, fluid and wide-ranging. I've enjoyed his singing with the groups Folly Bridge and Magpie Lane, weaving melody and harmonies with unaccompanied singers and instrumentalists with enviable ease. As you'll hear, Ian has chosen his songs carefully for this album which includes favourites gathered over the years. Musicians have queued up to volunteer their services and the songs are accompanied in a variety of styles by many talented instrumentalists and singers. This splendid first solo CD is a clear declaration of intent. I always said he should get out more ... here he comes....... to a place near you, soon.
Now we have his debut solo album, and it's a good one that shows off his strong and flexible voice admirably. Giles is backed by a band that includes Steve Tilston, Chris Leslie, Dan Plews, etc., and a vocal group that has Sandra & Nancy Kerr, among its members. They all give fine assistance but it is Giles' voice that carries the album ......this is a highly promising debut that deserves a wide hearing. Ian Giles has the potential to go beyond Oxford's Amber Triangle. This album should help him do it.
Roy Harris - The Living Tradition, April 1998
This is an album that has judged its time perfectly. Songs which were once the staple of the folk revival, simply sung, with subtle backing musicians and not a gimmick in sight. If Ian Giles were a bit younger, we would be touting him as another of the brat pack, re-assessing the quality and simplicity we have forgotten. The songs are almost a recommendation in themselves - Thornaby Woods, Aye Waukin O, Broom of the Cowdenknowes, Streets of Forbes, High Germany and even Peter Bellamy's Yarmouth Town. Giles' voice has just enough colour to be distinctive, without being odd and he is supported by people of the quality of Steve Tilston and Chris Leslie. Move over, young 'uns. Oldie folk lives!
Bob Harragan - Taplas, February 1998
From the opening track, 'I Wish I Were Where Ellen Lies', a perfect vehicle for the rich timbre of Ian's voice accompanied here by violin, guitar and bass guitar, to the last track, 'Singing Bird', on which Ian is joined by Moira Craig and Graham Metcalfe on vocals and Paul Sartin and Steve Tilston on oboe and guitar, there is not one that is a 'least favourite' ! The upbeat version of 'High Germany' is a pleasant contrast to some of the slower versions one hears; the American shanty 'John Cherokee', a vocal track on which Ian, Graham & Paul capture the rhythmic style so effectively, and the evocative rendition of Burn's 'Aye Waulkin' O' are just three highlights. To hear him live is a treat; with this CD you can treat yourself any time.
Jacqueline Patten What's Afoot Spring 98
Ian Giles is well known around his native Oxford, but his work hasn't been released in North America. Thus this disc was a pleasant discovery, combining a talented and unpretentious vocalist, a well-chosen collection of British traditional songs, and a first-rate crew of backup musicians. Just about every track invites you to sing along on the choruses.
TN - Dirty Linen, May 98
From the opening track you know you are in the presence of a singer of quality. Possessor of a warm and melliferous voice, he takes on fourteen mostly familiar songs and breaths new life into them. Aided by a host of talented musicians he easily spins a web of honeyed sound, and revitalises such standards as 'Thomaby Woods' and 'The Broom of Cowdenknowes'. If Folk on Tap were to organise one of those Ten Best Albums of the Year features, this set would be on my list.
JPB - Folk on Tap, April 1998
This is one of those simple yet super albums which come along 'midst the pretentious and the over-blown: no big productions, no showy instrumentation, just good, clear playing and singing. There's just a huge pleasure from these titles - I Wish I Were Where Ellen Lies, Aye Waulkin O, Streets of Forbes, and more. This is a truly fine piece of work from a man who is doing grand things for the real music.
Folk On - Spring 98
Wildgoose Records, May Cottage, Fullerton Road, Wherwell, Stockbridge, Hampshire. SP11 7JJ