Martin Simpson’s rubato

Martin Simpson seems to be widely regarded as being among the best instrumentalists in folk music. He is a very good musician indeed.

So why is he such a terrible singer? In the musician sense of singing.

It’s not just his voice, which is ordinary. It’s his … um … rubato. You know that thing that Frank Sinatra has always just got away with – singing behind the beat? Martin S delays so long on the last word in the phrase that he has to really rush to catch up in the next one.

And he does it again and again, and has done so through his whole career. Why has no-one ever been brave enough to tell him to just sing in time?

It means that his only good album is Cool and Unusual  – the only one in which he does not sing.