A gifted guitarist with a dead, stony voice and a gift for stripping down traditional songs to their timeless essentials, Nic Jones is an Irish folk singer in a direct line of descent from Bert Jansch. Penguin Eggs (1980) was trumpeted by critics as an unmitigated success. Standout tracks "Humpback Whale" and "Barrack Street" exemplify Jones' ability to revitalize traditional songs without resorting to over-arrangement or over-singing. In the hands of a less experienced performer, long ballads can come across as tedious and academic, but this has always been Jones' metier. His material from the '70s is still criminally unavailable -- hopefully someone will release Ballads and Songs and the rest, thereby restoring this important performer to his proper place.