Rusby for president... of the Folk Music Preservation Society
Kate Rusby’s bonus-track cover of Ray Davies’ “The Village Green Preservation Society” adds a delightful context to the characters she sings about on the mostly traditional but in-touch Awkward Annie. While you take in the English folk singer’s angel-sweet voice, backed by simple strings and the occasional accordion or horn, picture her own Village Green Preservation Society meeting: All her characters attend. John Barbury and Jane, about to have a baby out of wedlock, wait anxiously in the front row. Sitting together in the back are heartbreakers Awkward Annie, who hopped on a horse and rode away from her admirer, and the Bitter Boy, who “walked for miles through stormy weather” with a girl, then left her. The old man who claimed he “could do as much work in a day / as his wife could do in three” runs into the meeting late, followed by his grinning wife, proud to have proved him wrong. The sailor boy’s sweetheart sits alone by the door, still sore from the grief of a sad farewell. The meeting begins, and the townspeople talk about conserving the streams of the Nancy, milking the cows before they dry up and sending off the eastbound sailors. Rusby’s Awkward Annie is a welcome respite from the complicated life of a commoner.