REVIEW: Martyn Joseph, Evolved

Roots albums don't get much rootsier than this. Welsh singer songwriter Joseph has a huge back catalogue and a reputation for being an excellent live artist (he is, I've seen him).

He felt that previous recordings didn't do justice to his powerful songs and how they are presented in his live sets – so he went into the studio and sang them as-live. He withstood temptation to add vocal overlays or backing instrumentation. What you hear is exactly as he sang and played it.

Joseph has revisited songs spanning much of his career and there are some great songs here. There are two standouts for me – This Being Woman is a homage to mature women. It's unusual to find a man writing so sensitively about the feelings of a woman who may think her best years are behind her.

Another track, Turn Me Tender, is just beautiful: fine, moving words and melody and harmony to die for. I would have liked him to include Vegas, his song about a taxi driver he met while on holiday, as this is another track that works equally well live as on disc.

The CD presentation is great too - with an individual card design and lyrics for every song.

Fans will love this set, while for those not familiar with his career, will find this a deceptively simple but compelling introduction to the man. John Howes