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  • Music for the Motherless Child
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Music for the Motherless Child

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Audio CD, March 11, 1997
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$86.00 $23.50

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. One More Day 5:03Album Only
listen  2. A-Minor Blues16:38Album Only
listen  3. White Snow In Spring 6:38Album Only
listen  4. Dives And Lazarus19:36Album Only
listen  5. The Coo Coo Bird 7:14Album Only
listen  6. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child 8:29Album Only

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 11, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Water Lily Acoustics
  • ASIN: B000002VYN
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,422 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Martin Simpson is a renowned fingerstyle guitarist. Though he's British, and the folk music he's best known for comes from his homeland, he can teach American musicians a lot about their own music. Reaching deep into America's past, Simpson manages to maintain the American spirit while making the magic we simply call music. Music for the Motherless Child is a compassionate feast for the ears. Wu Man plays the Chinese lute. She's a deeply evocative pipa player, and her duets with Simpson strengthen their respective influences. Wait until you hear the title track--Simpson sings the melody with his slide guitar and Wu Man responds with a wavering, gentle echo. Recorded by Kavi Alexander, this record is a lilting tribute to why people make and listen to music. --Bob Boilen

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By applewood on February 8, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have more than half a dozen of Water Lily Acoustics simple and elegant cross-cultural records and this is the most consistently satisfying I've heard. I have been a big fan of Simpson for years and am now one of Wu Man as well! The notion of bringing two world class musicians together sight unseen so to speak, is a testament to both the producers and performers faith in the universality of music, beauty and grace. What results here is not flashy (which can easily happen from forced over-production), but instead a true and spontaneous dialogue between artists and cultures.

Simpson's role (on various 6 string acoustic and National Steel guitars) appears to be to set the framework, introducing traditional themes from various British and American tunes, while Wu Man ably and lithely keeps up and fills in with her plucked, strummed and tapped pipa (the Arabic oud/African-American banjo-sounding Chinese 4 stringed lute). There is a sense of both playful and deep discovery and listening throughout. The high point for me is their spacious reworking of Dives and Lazarus, which Simpson went on to beautifully record with vocals in 2001 on his The Bramble Briar.

Water Lily Acoustics' slogan is, "In the beginning there was sound." I would add that that's what there is in the middle and end as well. This is a universe of sound which we sometimes feel separate from. This music yearns to and succeeds in re-uniting us with this source, this Mother. This is really more than just music or art, it's something sublimely real (and really sublime). The beauty of communication itself; passed down through generations of traditions and expressed here and now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James W. Unger on December 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Martin Simpson & Wu Man - Music For The Motherless Child Water Lily Acoustics 1996

I have picked up a number of the Water Lily label CD's and SACD's since my pal Jeff Ferguson first played the Ry Cooder/U.M. Bhatt's "A Meeting By The River" also on Water Lily Records which I adored.
On "Music For The Motherless Child" guitarist Martin Simpson teams up with Wu Man to produce an album that deserves your full attention. This is a wild combination with the picture perfect acoustic guitar of Martin Simpson juxtaposed with the ancient 4 stringed Chinese Lute played by Wu Man .
Once again like all the Water Lily recordings every little bit of attention sonically to detail is present .....everything from the customer built microphones to the mastering process...even the placement of musician and instruments has been carefully arranged into what they refer to as "The classic Blumlein arrangement". This album was recorded in a vacant old church which adds to the ambient sonics.
The first song "One More Day" is a breathtaking was to open the album up. The album is not loud or rushed in any way and is a very meditative album.
Huge album and one that I recommend to all lovers of music.........who arent rushed and will take the time to appreciate something other than their regular haunts !
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By o dubhthaigh VINE VOICE on May 17, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
with extraordinarily naff liner notes by this new-age nitwitKavicnadran Alexander. Whatever. Thankfully Waterlilly Records insistence on "pure" micing didn't over rumi-nate into the quality of the artistry on offer.

If you can see past the notion that Islam created all music as we know it, Que?, you'll find two extraordinary musicians who were independently invited to record, not knowing that they were to record together. Waterlilly is da*ned lucky it was these two. Martin Simpson is one of the finest in a long, make that a very long line of English guitarists who rightly can point to Julian Bream, regardless of what style camp they happen to fall into, as a major influence: it's in the finger and plectrum work.

In the case of Simpson, who cut his teeth in among other ensembles, The Albion Band, he delivers a series of folk and blues workouts here that must have caught Wu Man slightly unawares. But then, you see, you're talking the finest fret player of any instrument anywhere with Wu Man, and from the lovely opening "One More Day," from the inimitable John Tams, she catches on and lays down an improvisation for which all other guitarists would sell their souls.

The finest pipa player ever then rises to the improvisations initiated by Simpson on "A Minor Blues." Playing pipa like a slide guitar, Wu Man brings an accompaniement first, and then some sultry lead work to this effort to Simpson's soulful work. You'd swear you were listening to Fred McDowell or Hubert Sumlin and not a Brit and a Chinese woman. The sophistication and very sound of the fingerwork here is all North Mississippi.

Wu Man's extraordinarily dextrous reverse tremoloes inspire Simpson to dig deep in the music.
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