Frank Emerson,
There's a Story Told
(Devil Dog, 2005)

Frank Emerson has a voice like honey. He entices us in and wraps us in warm sweet sentiment. His love of America, of folk music and of Ireland is tangible and over a number of albums he has promoted the music and the values.

On There's a Story Told, he again offers a wide range of songs from the traditional through respected writers and performers to his own compositions. He offers a fine version of "Carrigfergus" before inviting us all along to "Lanigan's Ball" for a good old Irish knees-up. His varied listening is evident with the inclusion of Ireland's Johnny McEvoy's "Long Before Your Time" and ex-Liverpudlian Michael Snow's "The Dawning of the Day."

You also get some more unusual tracks like "Dream a Little Dream of Me," which is not often recorded by the male of the species, and Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," not too common on folk albums. Marrying "Two Little Boys" and "Shenandoah" works much better in song than I might have thought after the Rolf Harris hit.

Emerson's own compositions include "Tween the Devil & the Deep Blue Sea" and "One Nation United."

This is wonderful collection, an eclectic collection in many ways, but it works.

My one problem with an album like this is that Frank introduces each track with some background. This is great once but on repeated playing one gets a bit fed up with hearing the chat. Eric Bogle did a similar introduction on a recent CD but had the chat and the song as separate tracks making it easier to skip over. Maybe next time, Frank?

by Nicky Rossiter
11 March 2006

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