Howe, Catherine - Because It Would Be Beautiful,
This 2015 album is a collaboration between Catherine Howe (vocals), the wonderful acoustic guitar and vocals of Vo Fletcher, Ric Sanders (violin) and Michael Gregory (drums and percussion). Catherine initially made her name as an actress, before releasing four highly acclaimed albums during the Seventies, and then retiring from the music business due to disillusionment. But, she eventually was enticed back, releasing ‘Princelet Street’ in 2005 and ‘English Tale’ (with Vo Fletcher) in 2010 before ‘Because…’ where yet again listeners can hear why Record Collector has called her "one of the great unrecognised voices" and Observer Music said, "Catherine Howe was a Kate Bush before her time".
Certainly, her lack of popular success has been a combination of bad luck (record companies going bust and her albums not making it to the shops) and a refusal to do what others demanded of her, as opposed to a lack of quality. I was fortunate enough to be asked to review the BGO double reissue some years back of ‘Harry’ and ‘Silent Mother Nature’ (1976 and 1976 respectively), so was pleased to see this, as I was completely unaware that she had returned to music and was recording again. Listen to “Who Would Know”, with delicate guitar from Vo, and marvel at the control and tone she still commands all these years on. Some songs are upbeat, and there is even a country and western style duet with Vo, but whatever style is being played her clear vocals are at the very heart.
She is undoubtedly one of the UK’s finest singers, and in an ideal world would be a name that everyone would recognise. However, we all know that reality isn’t like that, and the music business even more so. Instead, take this opportunity to discover a wonderful singer and if you enjoy great performances of folk inspired music then you won’t be disappointed. More details at www.talkingelephant.co.uk