Songs and tunes which reflect the turning of the seasons and the passing of the ritual calendar. The album has songs for each of the major seasons plus songs from the Sheffield Christmas tradition, the new year, Easter, and Whitsuntide. This is his third solo recording and is a testament to his consummate ability to stand alone as a singer and one of the best concertina players in the country. His obvious grasp, clear insight, and love, of the musical genre is simply a joy to behold. Many of the songs are Derbyshire based and display the pride that Keith has in being a Derbyshire mon.. He has always harboured a love of the ecclesiastical sounds and textures of carols and hymns and this is apparent in his choice of material for this album.
Anahata - Cello
Alan (Multi) Squires - Banjo, Tuba
Keith Holloway - Melodeon
Keith Kendrick - English & Anglo concertinas, Percussion
Lizzi Stephens - Piano
Mary Humphries - Piano
Ralph Jordan - McCann Duet Concertina, Guitar, Bouzouki
Sue (Twaggers) Evans - Hammered Dulcimer
Keith Kendrick has a long and well documented history of presenting English folk music in most of its forms over the last 38 years: live, on radio and television, and on record. He was a founder member and prime contributor to The Druids (Late 60s/early 70s), Rams Bottom Band (early 70s/late 80s) and a member of the late lamented Muckram Wakes. In recent years, Keith has returned to Derbyshire and established a highly popular harmony duo with Lynne Heraud and also currently sings in an ever more popular shanty trio with Geoff Higginbottom and Derek Gifford (Three Sheets to the Wind!)
1. The Ploughshare (Copper Family)
The Ideal song to encompass the overall seasonal progress and to navigate us through the calendar year from an agricultural standpoint. From the one and only singing Copper Family of Rottingdean, Sussex.
2. Nowell, Nowell (Traditional)
From one of the Maud Karpeles edited Sharp collections The Crystal Spring, this version originating from Cornwall which I suspect might explain the spelling of the title here!
3. Bring Im On (Tams)
John Tams, for me, has been the most relevant, important and consistent contributor of new English music and song material to the folk world, and beyond, throughout the revival and is still relatively under sung for all that! A valued old buddy, heres his mammoth new take on the Calling on theme of the old guisers with a distinct Derbyshire feel. Who (if they werent told) would ever consider this might not be a traditional song? and a good one to boot!
4. The Ashbourne Wassail (Words traditional/Tune K. Kendrick)
OK so I cheated! This is a selection of verses from the Oxford Book of Carols using my own melody and extended chorus. Call it the living tradition!
5. The Great Derby Footrace (Words - Traditional/Tune - Cater)
This is largely the work of two great men Roy Harris, who found the words in an old Derbyshire folksong collection by Jewitt and re-fashioned them slightly, and Colin Cater who added the new melody much later. A fortuitous (if unwitting) collaboration serving to preserve a vivid account of this important old Derby athletics tradition. The event was held for many years on Sinfin Moor providing much needed respite for the hard-working locals from the long, cold, holidayless period between Christmas and Easter - known as The Low Season. Interestingly, Sinfin Moor was for centurys known locally as the The Bog and was always considered totally unfit for building on. Needless to say it is now a very large housing estate!
6. The Moon Shines Bright (Traditional)
Another example of the artificial date re-location of calendar customs borne out of (one presumes) the Churchs not so subtle attempts to bury paganism - how else would an Easter carol conclude with a wish for a Happy New Year? This song has been with me since my early singing days with Barry Coope (1974?) when we found it, yet again, in the Karpeles Crystal Spring (From a performance by Prudence Hardy of Ilmington). Barry and I sang it together as a duo and later with Rams Bottom Band as a six-part arrangement.
7. Derwent May Carol (Words Traditional/Tune - Kendrick)
Yes here I go again - trying to put Derbyshire on the map! Bedfordshire text, my tune.
8. Whitsuntide Carol (Copper Family)
A scary but great song, and kind of humorous - again from the Coppers Song Book - promoting the old fallacy that the only motivation to be good in our lifetime lies in the belief that we go somewhere nice when we die as a reward! Topped off with a nice bit of Royalist claptrap at the end!
9. The Scarecrow (Graeme Miles)
Great poetry - fantastic imagery and the eeriest melody youve ever heard! I was inspired to sing this song after hearing a matchless performance of it by Robin Dale (a close friend and associate of the writer) at Darlington Folk Club. Two stouter chaps there never were my thanks to you both!
10. The Nutley Waltz (Traditional) / Dougs Maggot (Kendrick)
To signify the midsummer dance and a salute to two more great men: Scan Tester who inspired many a young anglo concertina
player throughout his lifetime and well beyond (myself included) and the long suffering Doug Bailey (mine audio/technical host) whom I thought deserved to have a tune named after him whether he liked it or not! (thanks Keith: though I am not sure about the maggot, Doug)
11. The Grey Cock and the Lovers Ghost (Traditional)
Midsummer was always a very popular time for ghostly visitations and still is apparently..This is a very shortened version of the original ballad but it has the best tune ever. Ill never forget Jos delivery of this when we were touring nothing short of stunning!
12. The Harvest Supper Song Words (Trad) Tune (Kendrick)
Cant have a seasonal collection without a Harvest song eh? Ere yare then!
13. Norfolk (Traditional) / The Gasp Reel (Huddy Leadbeater)
And now Ladies and GentlemenThe Harvest Dance!?
14. Beautiful Dale (Traditional)
The inspiration for this setting is down to Will Noble (The Holme Valley Nightingale) and his many exemplary performances of this wonderful song.
15. Hark, Hark What News? (Traditional)
Dedicated to the people of Dungworth nr Sheffield (To whom I sincerely doff my cap!) who have sung many alternative carols like these on Sunday lunchtimes during the six week run up to Christmas in the Royal Hotel every year for centuries! They still do it today and long may it be so.