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Sleeve Notes for Songs from the Derbyshire Coast by Keith Kendrick

Songs from the Derbyshire CoastWhen Keith and I discussed making this third album with WildGoose the idea was to address several aspects of Keiths performing career. It was also planned to be a solo album but given that his career has always featured collaborations with other musicians this proved impossible so we have tried to reflect this without masking his own undoubted abilities as a solo artist. The pieces here reflect Keiths own ideas and arrangements and we have tried to present other artistes contributions as enhancements rather than using them as props - often a difficult balance to strike, but I hope that this comes across.


Keiths tastes in traditional music have always been diverse and eclectic including: English song and dance in general but increasingly concentrating on Derbyshire versions; maritime songs and shanties; and the occasional contemporary song written in traditional style.  All of these styles are reflected here. There are some very meaningful and serious items and also some lighter pieces just for fun but always with a strong leaning towards the maritime; hence the title of the album

Keith Kendrick   vocals, English and anglo concertinas, guitar
John Adams   harmony vocals, guitar
Michael Beeke   tuba, English pipes
Doug Eunson   harmony vocals, melodeon
Alice Jones   piano
Ralph Jordan   duet concertina, guitar
Sarah Matthews   harmony vocals, fiddle, viola
Michelle Short   harmony vocals, bodhran
Harmony vocals   Sylvia Needham, Lynne Heraud, Pat Turner, Tom Brown, Doug Bailey

Track Notes

1 Bold Riley
Trad. Arr: Kendrick

‘Full English’ is the name of a project group involving yours truly, Sylvia Needham, Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner. This is the song that gave rise to the idea when we all performed it together at Broadstairs Folk Week a few years ago. Interestingly enough I was inspired to sing the song in the first place (having known it for years, mind) after hearing a lovely performance by the delectable Kate Rusby - thanks Kate.

2 Lowlands of Holland
Trad. Arr: Kendrick

Likely the first British traditional song I ever sang in public - thanks to Martin Carthy for his early recorded performance (and much, much more) and Tom Addison for leading me to it. Good onyer chaps!

3 Once I courted a Damsel
Trad. Arr: Kendrick/Needham

I first heard this song 30 something years ago as a fragment from the singing of Joseph Taylor. It wasn’t until quite recently that I heard the complete song performed by an old friend - Bill Prince, which immediately inspired Sylvia and I to work up this rendition. Few songs have afforded me such lasting pleasure in performance - it stands alone in both beauty and melodic style..…and you should hear Bill’s version!

4 Beulah Land
Trad. Arr: Kendrick

This song was taught to me by Suzy Adams from the singing of the amazing Helen Schneyer who was unique and for me, one of the great pioneers of the U.S. folk scene. Helen sadly died last year while Sylvia and I were performing at Pinewoods Folk Festival in Cape Cod (where she would likely have been otherwise - so a very sad coincidence), but we all sang to her memory. The melody is in fact the Fijian national anthem (don’t yer know!) Practically all my CD’s have a ‘fun’ track somewhere - I like to think that Helen would have approved……

5 Summon up the Sun
O’Connor/Arr: Kendrick

Summon up the Sun (O’Connor/Arr: Kendrick) Of the songs that have been made about this mysterious man of leaves, just one had managed to grab and keep my attention for years. This was in fact ‘The Green Man’ by the great Graeme Miles - which is ‘mammoth’ for sure, so much so that I was convinced that the job had been done to everyone’s satisfaction… ….until, that is, the deeply insightful ‘Bard of Cornwall’ Mike O’Connor put this together and sang it to me - so at best, there are now two! Hope you like it Mike.

6 Turkish Quickstep
Kotzwara/Arr: Kendrick

This wonderful little tune, of which there are two versions played here, is part of a piece of battle music called ‘The Battle of Prague’ composed by Karl Kotzwara in London in 1788. I first heard it played by the terrific ‘RBB Band’ from Nottingham some years ago and subsequently used it in a touring musical theatre production of ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ recently.

7 Sally Free and Easy
Tawney/Arr: Kendrick/Needham

Never having actually sung a Cyril Tawney song in my life (for some strange reason that I can’t fathom) I was moved to sing this possibly best known and loved of his wonderful and immense song factory produce during his last couple of weeks in hospital - leading ultimately to his most untimely death not two years ago at time of writing. There have been many great renditions of ‘Sally’ but so often presented as a lament. Upon reading Cyril’s own words about the song (which he says he wrote as a sort of English ‘blues’) it appeared to us that he saw it more as a ‘rant’ or a ‘tirade’, so we’ve tried here to insert a bit of bitter anger as well as despair. R.I.P. Cyril.

8 The Echoin’ Horn
Trad. Arr: Kendrick/Needham

Whatever you think about fox hunting (and there’s always two sides to a story) the many glorious songs that it has produced over decades should, in my view, be evaluated separately from the activity itself (past or present) as, surely and undeniably, great pieces of artistic endeavour by people who at an earlier time clearly believed that, rightly or wrongly, it was necessary. I neither decry nor support foxhunting, it’s simply a thing of the past and we should let it be - but let the songs travel on as a socio-historic reference at least! This is a great one from Peter Kennedy’s recording of Bob Copper (both late and lamented) in 1956.

9 Napoleon’s Dream
Trad. Arr. Kendrick

From the singing of dear old Sam Larner - I’ve loved this song since the day, again, Suzie Adams played it to me when I joined Muckram Wakes in 1980 but I hadn’t sung it since we folded in 1984 until very recently. I regret that but, hey, better late than never!

10 The Sailor’s Prayer

So, I was out in Japan dressed as a duck……hmmmm where I met a fine singer guitarist from Florida (with a heavy scouser accent), Jeff Mason. He played me a cassette by a knock-out; knock-about all male acapela maritime group called ‘The Corsairs’ from Texas. This was one of the more meaningful songs they sang. It’s a metaphorical song from the pen of legendary New York singer/song-writer Rod McDonald which I/we always dedicate to anyone who has fought their way back to health or salvation from the very brink of extinction - among the recipients of our dedications have been such heroes as Dave Swarbrick, The Tsunami survivors and national treasure Ellen McArthur.

11 A Hundred Years Ago/Essiquibo River/Rolling Down the Bay to Juliana

Just three of my favourite sea-shanties of all time, the latter two, again from the singing of the great Roy Harris……..worra lad!

12 Roman Reel/Polka Chinoise
Trad./Arr: Kendrick/Matthews/Eunson/Jordan

The Roman Reel is from the famous (by now surely) Ashover Collection unearthed by Frank Sutton of Claycross in the late 60’s I think. It was played to me recently by Doug Eunson and Sarah Mathews so I invited them to play it here along with John and Michelle Adams (the other members of their group - ‘Cross O’th Hands) and Alice Jones and Michael Beeke all of whom I work/session with from time to time.

Polka Chinoise is a striking little tune that Ralph Jordan taught to me a little while ago and which we now often play together - like here and I love it…

13 The Coast of Peru
Trad. Arr: Kendrick/Heraud

Another duet this time with my famous old sparring partner Lynne Heraud from the singing of A.L.Lloyd. A truly GREAT song - and no - I don’t support Whale hunting………

14 Awake! Arise!
Trad. Arr: Kendrick

Awake! Arise! (Trad. Arr: Kendrick) Another from my growing repertoire of great songs from the Sheffield pub carol singing traditions. Again, Christ believer or not (and I’m a confirmed Heathen.) everyone should sing these songs at Christmas - they are cram-packed full of wholesome goodness……. ‘Allylooyer!