various artists,
Strange Coincidences in
Specialty Tea Trading II

(Osmosys, 2006)

If you find a great item, you always want more. If you produce a good product, give the public the chance to experience it. Terra Nova Music is to be applauded for giving us -- the listening public -- an affordable chance to experience more of the best of contemporary music at a very, very good price, knowing we will not be able to resist purchasing more. Good marketing, lads.

This is volume two of the long-titled album compilation, and if anything it surpasses the first. As with all compilations it cannot hope to appeal to everyone on every track but it comes extremely close.

Opening with one of the most haunting tracks on any album in any genre of any nation, the wonderfully named And Did Those Feet brings us to Wales on "Mil Harddach Wyt." Next up we get spoken word from Roger Lloyd Peck on "Non Sequitors." Some people will know him as Trigger in the BBC series "Only Fools & Horses." "The Blackcap" brings us once more to captivating and haunting music from an album I just love called Mise agus Ise.

Hank Wangford & the Lost Cowboys will enthrall you on "Wake Up Dead" while Paddyrasta will make you think as you giggle on "Fair Trade Bananas."

Reviewing this album is murder on the old spellchecker with the weird and wonderful band names.

I am delighted that I have at least four of the albums sampled here and will be actively seeking out some of the others. Richard Ellin, the mind behind this label with a slogan of "affordable discoveries," is to be congratulated and I hope imitated.

He performs another valuable service with the album by including a track by Judith Pollock called "Requiem" to raise awareness of a foundation that works on "taking the fear away from dying."

This album does a great job as a sampler and an awareness raiser, but in essence it is simply a great collection of songs by great performers you may not be aware of -- at a great price, hence it is by definition "a great album."

by Nicky Rossiter
6 January 2007