I must say I admired my own sense of restraint on our recent trip to the UK with regard to the buying of CDs. Or, rather, with regard to the fact I purchased only 9 CDs in total despite the manifold temptations I faced. Just one example: in Edinburgh I chanced upon a delightful shop near the theatres on the way to the Castle which specialised in folk music. I reckon I could have come away with at least 100 absolutely necessary purchases but restricted to myself to 4, these being, not in any order of merit: Eliza Carthy's Dreams of Breathing Underwater; Roy Harper's Stormcock (astonishingly only the second Harper album I've owned, the other being HQ); the second album for The Imagined Village, Empire & Love, featuring lots of Ms Carthy and her dad; and one I've been trying to hunt down for some years now, Live Love, Larf & Loaf by that stellar quartet French, Frith, Kaiser, Thompson.
Just listing these, and thinking of the other 5 I bought in December, makes me feel warm inside and desperately keen to listen again to them all. Just take the last in the list above. I first became aware of the existence of this, in anyone's terms, extraordinary collaboration when I heard a track from it, I Am A Bird In God's Garden, in a 3 CD Richard Thompson compilation. This is RT in Islamic mode, and most tasty it is too, especially the lovely off-kilter violin courtesy, I assume, of Fred Frith. It turns out that pretty much every track on the original album is distinct unto itself and everyone's a gem. I foresee, or fore-hear, I suppose, hours of happy listening ahead.