Lal Waterson & Oliver Knight
A Bed of Roses
Topic - UK

Carrying on from their masterful Once in a Blue Moon (1996), Lal Waterson and Oliver Knight challenge the listener with songs of unique intimacy. Like the earlier album, A Bed of Roses is dark and spare, without being despairing. There are heated arguments among folk fans over whether British singer-songwriters work in a more transcendent fashion than the current crop of American songwriter-confessionalists. With writing like this, Waterson and Knight could be Exhibit A:

"All that is mine is my mother and father's line/and the day and the evening time/it's such a fine little line/caught up in the hall of time/then the day and the evening collide." - "Memories"

Lal Waterson's songwriting and vocal ability reach new heights on A Bed of Roses. She had an unusual way of phrasing and word play. Each song comes off as a superbly crafted miracle. Oliver Knight's guitar work is well suited to Waterson's subversive song-art, and we are treated to two nice instrumental interludes from Knight. Those looking for another classic like "Midnight Feast" (from Once...) may find the stunning "Bath Time" to their liking. As testimony to Waterson's singular talent, A Bed of Roses is full of the sweet-scented, thornful musings that characterize Lal's best work.

"Fly on feathered wings/warm clouds, soft winds/may you find your rest/in a safe nest" - "Migrating Bird"

These words could serve as a beautiful eulogy to Waterson's passing. But let's not eulogize. Let's sing. - Lee Blackstone