Album Review: The Moral of the Elephant by Eliza Carthy
Excellent, Based on 2 Critics
Record Collector - 80 Based on rating 4/5
With a combined 70-year career between them (dad on the verge of notching up a half-century), it’s perhaps surprising that it’s taken so long for this particular pairing of Carthys to make a record together. Daughter Eliza shared the spotlight with mum Norma Waterson on 2010’s award-winning The Gift, and it’s a safe bet that this lively collection of mostly traditional songs will attract even more gongs in folk circles. Fittingly, several of the songs take the form of conversations between family members, such as the near-title track The Elephant, based on a 19th-century poem by John Godfrey Saxe, itself adapted from an ancient Indian parable.
Twenty years ago, the then teenage Eliza Carthy joined her celebrated parents Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson on the first Waterson: Carthy album. Since then, she has recorded the classic LP Gift with her mum, and now comes the debut set with her dad. The result is brave, and anything but predictable. No other musicians are involved, as the duo match their solo and harmony singing against fine, sparse guitar work from Martin and his daughter's fiddle-playing.