Multi-instrumentalist/composer Daniel Crommie has got to be one of the busiest musicians on the planet. In addition to his many solo release and band projects with Group Du Jour and Echo System, he also somehow seems to find time to record as part of the Saturnalia Trio alongside violinist Leslie Gray and percussionist Jamie Haggerty. This reissue of their 1997 release Salterello, Psaltery & Song features 19 tracks of acoustic Medieval music, mostly renditions of 12th and 13th century compositions plus some Crommie originals.
Though this is a trio, much of what you hear on Salterello, Psaltery & Songs is dominated by Crommie, who handles the vocals, flutes, recorders, buche, pipes, tin whistle, mandolin, and keyboards. When Gray lends her talents on the violin, the songs take an even more graceful turn, like on "Le Septime Estample Real", and the folky and quite enchanting "Queen of the Meadows" has a rich, pastoral, early Jethro Tull feel to it. This is partly due to Crommie's vocals, which do sound a bit like Ian Anderson, which you can again hear on the mystical "She Has Wings". My one gripe about this album is that not enough of it actually sounds like a band effort; it's on the longer pieces where all three players contribute, like "Chasing Your Tail", "Thimbleberry Song", and "Kalenda Maya", that bring the best results here on Salterello, Psaltery & Song. The rest, while decent, come across more like Crommie solo outtakes. A nice touch to close out the album is their version of the Traffic classic "John Barleycorn", complete with Crommie's alluring mandolin and Gray's soaring violin.
Not quite an essential listen, but Salterello, Psaltery & Song has enough going for it to recommend to those who enjoy medieval folk music and the more acoustic based works of Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention. If you didn't check this album out the first time around, it's now available as part of Daniel Crommie's Archive Series.
1. Bacche, Bene Venies 2:20
2. Queen of the Meadows 4:39
3. Salterello 1:42
4. Le Septime Estampie Real (early version) 2:10
5. She Has Wings 2:39
6. Chanson 'A Prisai Qu'en Chantant 0:57
7. Reedpipe Improvisation 0:55
8. Gemshorn Pipe (early version) 2:56
9. Danse Royale 2:37
10. Chasing Your Tail 3:12
11. Salterello 2 2:48
12. Thimbleberry Song (early version) 1:52
13. Owe Daz Nach Liebe Gat 1:37
14. This Last Sad Song (early version) 3:51
15. Salterello 3 1:19
16. Kalenda Maya 4:00
17. Brought With the Rain (early version) 4:11
18. El Sabio Tune (early version) 3:01
19. John Barleycorn (live) 3:30