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Sleeve Notes for From the Vale by Chris Bartram & Keith Holloway

From the ValeEnglish traditional songs and tunes from the Vale of White Horse played mainly on Melodeons and Fiddle.


The Vale of the White Horse gets its name from the ancient carving of the Uffington White Horse which gleams from the chalk cliffs of the Berkshire Downs.  Chris Bartram and Keith Holloway grew up in the Vale, listening to, and absorbing, music from people who had in their turn learned from forebears reaching back to the early years of this century.

Both men became musicians in blues, jazz, and rock, happily playing in these styles whilst not forgetting the old tunes of the Vale, As they grew more immersed in the folk revival and got together to play music, what more natural than to return to those earlier remembered tunes and songs?

It shouldnt take courage to publish an album of traditional music as lively, zestful, and well played as this one - but it does you know!  Why?  Because this is not the latest red-hot Celtic collection, nor is it crossover that sits on more fences than it leaps.  Nor is it fusion that softens the characteristics of the things it claims to fuse until they are blurred beyond recognition.  And, finally, it does not feature a famous or heavily - hyped name.  A recipe for disaster one might think, but not necessarily so, not so long as people vote with their ears and are prepared to take the album on its merits.

What we have here is a programme of traditional music in southern English style, plus a few originals, solid and sociable, no fancy flourishes, ideal for lifting the spirits and causing the toes to tap.  Add some good old countrymans songs sung with great good humour, and you've got the complete package.    
Roy Harris   for The Living Tradition

Track Notes

1 Within This Hive We re All Alive

2 Pop Steers Polkas

3 Six Nights Drunk

4 Shepherds Hey/The Squires Dance

5 A Curious Race Has Come to Pass

6 The Wantage Tram

7 The Wantage Hornpipe

8 Here Stop and Spend a Social Hour

9 Two Takes the One

10 Six Pretty Maids

11 Tommy Make Room/Old Towler

12 Before the Gods

13 The White Horse Shepherd

14 The Rifles

15 Jockey to the Fair

16 A Rose By Any Other Name

17 The Prize Winning Hereford Bull

18 Over the Hills to Newbury

19 Butter, Cheese and All

20 The Cup That Cheers