Mark Brine,
Fortunes: The Best of Mark Brine
(Shut Eye, 2004)

Subtitled "The Best of Mark Brine," Fortunes is an excellent introduction to his work and an opportunity to get 17 beautiful tracks culled from a number of albums on just one disc. With 16 of the tracks from his own pen, it is a fascinating collection showing a talent in full flight.

'The Parlour Song" brings us back to a bygone time and the motif remains through a number of tracks. Seldom is this "time machine" bettered than on "8th Grade Romance," which will bring the listener back to those innocent and often scary days.

A favourite track for me is "Riverboat," with the simple lyrics and crystal backing music. One of the most haunting songs here is the beautiful "The God Will Be Up Lullaby," which is delivered with true feeling.

"Rebel" is another excellent song with strong lyrics that bear close listening. This is followed by the best track on the album, "And I'll Wait for You," making full use of spare backing with guitar and fiddle.

Looking at the track listing is a revelation in titling with such gems as "The Tale of the Troll and Me" and "I've Always Been a Sucker for Your Smile."

If you like Americana, good lyrics and great delivery, this should be on your list.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 11 December 2004

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