Dusty Diamonds

by Martin & Shan Graebe

Gems of traditional English song, mined from the manuscripts of Sabine Baring-Gould and Cecil Sharp.

Some of the songs are presented here for the first time since they were collected. Many are variants of songs that are well known but we feel that the differences give them freshness and renewed charm. The songs we have chosen are mainly from the South-West of England, particularly Devon, though Cornwall is well represented. There are also two songs written by Martin.

Vocals - Martin and Shan Graebe,
Concertina - Keith Kendrick,
Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll
Additional Vocals - Doug Bailey, Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham



1. The bold privateer
2. American stranger
3. Hunting the hare / Adam the poacher
4. Among the green hay
5. Shropshire Union
6. A frigate well manned
7. Come all you worthy Christians
8. Henry Martin
9. The great galleon of Plymouth
10. The lark in the morn
11. Thesetting of the sun
12. The complaining maid
13. Down in the coal mine
14. My coffin shall be black

1 The bold privateer 
Trad. (Roud 1000) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 147 (189) It is not, perhaps, surprising that the County of Drake, Hawkins and Raleigh should have an abundance of sea songs and Baring-Gould’s collection has many of them, some of which we have included on this CD. This song was collected from a number of our singers. Our version came from James Hext, a shepherd from Postbridge in the middle of Dartmoor. ‘The Bold Privateer’ was issued as a broadside by a number of 19th Century printers and comes from one of those brief periods when, because we weren’t officially at war with anyone, the Crown licensed captains to have a go anyway. Vocals - Martin and Shan, Concertina - Keith Kendrick, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 

2 American stranger 
Trad. (Roud 1081) 

Cecil Sharp collected this song from the traveller Priscilla Cooper. He visited her when she was camped at Stafford Common, near Seaton, East Devon in September 1907. The words were incomplete and so we have added a couple of lines from the version collected by Baring-Gould from Mary Treise of Menhenniot. We have omitted Sharp’s last verse which appears to have strayed in from ‘The Indian Lass’. There is a wax cylinder recording in the EFDSS collection held at the British Library Sound Archive which was made by Cecil Sharp in January of the following year and which is believed to be of Priscilla Cooper singing this song. Vocals - Shan and Martin 

3 Hunting the hare / Adam the poacher 
Trad. (Roud 1181/Roud 13907) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P3, 47 (420) Two songs about mistreating hares. Actually, we rather like hares and there is no way we would say “go out and do it”, but these are magnificent tunes. ‘Adam the Poacher’ has long been a favourite piece and is invariably played at the Baring-Gould Festival each autumn, where we have sung it with Nick and Becki. It was played to Baring-Gould by William Andrew, a fiddler who farmed at Sheepstor, on the South Western edge of Dartmoor. He recalled that, when he had played for village dances, the dancers would sing the words of the songs as he played. He could not, though, remember all the words - only those that came at the ‘turns’ in the dance. Baring-Gould wrote a set of words based on William Andrew’s description of the song and Shan has re-written a couple of his lines for our version. ‘Hunting the Hare’ was included in Robert Bell’s ‘Ancient Poems, Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England’ (1857). Though Baring-Gould did collect a version of the song in Devon, we liked this tune which was sent to him in 1899 having been taken down from an old man (un-named) at St. Genys in Cornwall. Vocals - Martin and Shan, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll, Concertina - Keith Kendrick.

4 Among the green hay 
Trad. (Roud 965) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 371 (330) Baring-Gould was sent this song by Miss F.J. Adams from Plymouth who remembered it being sung by her grandmother early in the 19th Century. The song comes from ‘The Virgin Unmasked’, a musical entertainment performed in the 1780s. She had forgotten a couple of the verses and Baring-Gould used a text sent to him by Lucy Broadwood, which she had collected in Hampshire to complete the song. Another version was later collected in Hampshire by George Gardiner. In modern times Mike Yates recorded the song from Freda Palmer at Witney. Vocals - Shan, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 

5 Shropshire Union 
Graebe 

Martin wrote this song after a very pleasant trip in the 1970s, delivering a boat from Market Harborough to Llangollen. Images of the beauty of the Shropshire Union Canal have stayed fresh in the mind for thirty years. The sentiments of the song are those of the old boaters and canal workers who worked through the difficulties of the first part of the 20th Century, only to experience the dismantling of the commercial canal system as a result of post-war nationalisation. Since it was written the canal system has been reborn as a major leisure enterprise – but, on some of the more distant stretches of water, it is still possible to enjoy the countryside and get away from the fumes of the trucks that have replaced the old boats. Vocals - Martin 

6 A frigate well manned 
Trad. (Roud 21847) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 327 (299) Baring-Gould heard this song from the labourer Robert Hard of South Brent in November 1892, shortly before the old man died. We have not found another instance of it having been collected, though Baring-Gould gives two published sources: The Mistaken Lady’s Garland (1760) and ‘Frigate well mann’d and other songs’ published in Glasgow in 1802. Baring-Gould heard the same tune from the Dartmoor fiddler William Andrew who played it in 6/8, which we found to work better for us than Hard’s 4/4 version. Baring-Gould noted that the first four notes in the refrain for Hard’s version should be “trumpeted with the mouth.” Though we tried it we found ourselves laughing too much to do it in performance! Vocals - Martin and Shan, Concertina - Keith Kendrick, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 

7 Come all you worthy Christians 
Trad. (Roud 815) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 61 (144) This song was collected by Cecil Sharp from John Dingle while he was visiting Sabine Baring-Gould at his home at Lewtrenchard in August 1904. Baring-Gould had heard Dingle sing the song ten years earlier. By that time Dingle was one of the few of Baring-Gould’s singers who was still alive. Sharp later walked over to John and Elizabeth Dingle’s cottage in the neighbouring parish of Coryton and it was during this visit that he took the photograph of the couple which Chris Molan has used as the basis for her painting on the CD cover. This stirring Christian socialist anthem was recovered by several of the Victorian and Edwardian collectors, mainly in Southern England. Vocals - Martin, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll. 

8 Henry Martin 
Trad. (Roud 104, Child 250) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P1, 122 (53) Matthew Baker, a crippled labourer in Baring-Gould’s parish contributed this version of a ballad which is well known throughout England. The original, ‘Andrew Barton’, deals with the exploits of the eponymous Scotsman who caused problems for Henry VIII, and who then sent his two best admirals out to put a stop to his piracy. We have adopted a couple of irresistible verses from the version sung by Roger Luxton of nearby Bratton Clovelly, which bring the King’s Lifeguards into the story. Vocals - Martin and Shan, Concertina - Keith Kendrick 

9 The great galleon of Plymouth 
Graebe 

This song was written by Martin. It follows in the footsteps of fantasies like ‘The Crocodile’ or ‘The Derby Ram’ (who takes a bow in the song). Revisiting Plymouth recently we reflected that the ship would have been very, very big! We may have been taking the whole thing too literally, but we anticipate receiving a lecture from a marine architect who wishes to tell us that the stresses on a wooden structure would not have allowed a vessel of this size to be constructed. Vocals - Martin, Additional vocals - Doug Bailey, Shan Graebe, Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham. 

10 The lark in the morn 
Trad. (Roud 151) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 258 (255) The words of this version of ‘Lark in the morn’ were collected from Sam Gilbert, the 81 year old landlord of the Falcon Inn at Mawgan in Pydar, Cornwall. We have coupled Gilbert’s text with the wonderful tune that Baring-Gould heard from Robert Hard of South Brent, one of the first men that Baring-Gould collected songs from. Vocals - Shan and Martin, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 

11 The setting of the sun 
Trad. (Roud 166) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P3, 30 (409) This song is widely found in Britain, Ireland and America under a variety of titles: ‘The Shooting of his Dear’, ‘Molly Bawn’ and ‘The Fowler’, for example. This version, with its stunning tune, comes from one of Baring-Gould’s most remarkable singers, Sam Fone of Mary Tavy, Devon. There are 120 songs from Fone in the collection - more than any of Baring-Gould’s other singers. But Baring-Gould said that Sam knew more than 200 altogether. Vocals - Martin 

12 The complaining maid 
Trad. (Roud 1546) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 206 (222) 
This song came from William Houghton, the Harbourmaster (and retired smuggler) of Charlestown in Cornwall. It is clearly related to ‘’Twas on One April Morning’, which was collected by Priscilla Wyatt-Edgell near Exeter in 1908 and which was made popular by the late Tony Rose. Miss Wyatt-Edgell was a friend of Baring-Gould’s daughters and sent him a number of songs, though not this one. Baring-Gould also heard a fragment of the song from Mary Gilbert, daughter of the Landlord of the Falcon Inn in Mawgan, Cornwall. She sang only the last verse and the tune was not taken down because she was uncertain about it. 
In the 1910 issue of the Journal of the Folk Song Society in which ‘April Morning’ was published, Lucy Broadwood suggested that it was originally from a play or ballad opera. The literary feel of Houghton’s words suggests that his version may be closer to that original, but his tune is very unusual. 
Vocals - Shan, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 


13 Down in the coal mine 
Trad. (Roud 3502) 

Martin found this unpublished song in the Cecil Sharp manuscript collection, and was intrigued by the connection with coal mining in Somerset. At the time Sharp was collecting, the Somerset pits were at their peak of activity. Their decline started in the 1920s, though the last pit didn’t close until 1973. The song was collected from Louie Hooper and Lucy White at Hambridge in September 1903. The two sisters gave Sharp three verses as well as a tune. He wrote at the bottom of his notation ‘Not, of course, a folk song.’ A.L. Lloyd had heard a version from miners and recorded that the song had been written by J.B. Geoghegan in 1873. Geoghegan had something of a hit with the song not only in Britain but also in the USA where it is found in several collections. It was this version that was popularised by the Ian Campbell Folk Group. There are several broadside versions of the song, however, and Roy Palmer tells me that some of these can be dated before 1870. Geoghegan is known to have written a number of songs based on broadsides and I believe that this may be the case with his take on ‘Down in a Coal Mine’. Louie Hooper and Lucy White’s song is clearly derived from the broadside rather than from Geoghegan’s song. Their first verse has parts of the broadside’s first and second verses, and so we have used the broadside to reconstruct it. Vocals - Martin and Shan, Concertina - Keith Kendrick, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll 

14 My coffin shall be black 
Trad. (Roud 1704) 

SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2, 254 (252) Baring-Gould collected the words to this morbid little song in February 1893 from a boy at Altarnun in Cornwall who said it had been learnt from his aunt who had been ‘bred up in the Launceston Union’. The boy used it every night as his evening prayer. Baring-Gould gave no tune but, in August 1906, Ralph Vaughan Williams collected the song from a Mr Kinnaid at Dunstan, Northumberland to this strong tune. Vocals - Martin and Shan, Concertina - Keith Kendrick, Fiddles - Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll Additional Vocals - Doug Bailey, Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham 
1
The bold privateer
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
2
American stranger
Cecil Sharp collected this song from the traveller Priscilla Cooper. He visited her when she was camped at Stafford Common
3
Hunting the hare / Adam the poacher
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P3
Sample not available
4
Among the green hay
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
5
Shropshire Union
Martin wrote this song after a very pleasant trip in the 1970s
Sample not available
6
A frigate well manned
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
Sample not available
7
Come all you worthy Christians
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
Sample not available
8
Henry Martin
Child 250)
9
The great galleon of Plymouth
This song was written by Martin. It follows in the footsteps of fantasies like ‘The Crocodile’ or ‘The Derby Ram’ (who takes a bow in the song). Revisiting Plymouth recently we reflected that the ship would have been very
Sample not available
10
The lark in the morn
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
Sample not available
11
The setting of the sun
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P3
Sample not available
12
The complaining maid
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
Sample not available
13
Down in the coal mine
Martin found this unpublished song in the Cecil Sharp manuscript collection
Sample not available
14
My coffin shall be black
SB-G Manuscript Ref. P2
Sample not available

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

The first thing that I noted about this latest CD from these two is that the last time I reviewed one of their recordings they weren't married! Belated congratulations to them both and also congratulations on producing another very enjoyable CD.

Martin has a rather misty sounding voice which complements Shan's strong attractive tonal singing and their tight harmonies are a pleasure to listen to.

Martin is something of an authority on Sabine Baring-Gould so the material, as might be expected, is mostly from  that collector's portfolio. Cecil Sharp's songs are also well represented here. In addition two tracks are Martin's own songs. Of the latter I particularly liked 'Shropshire Union' sung a capella by Martin.

There are some new, and therefore refreshing, versions of some well known songs including 'Henry Martin' and 'The Lark in the Morn' and a wonderfully jolly version of  'Down in the Coal Mine' from whence comes the CD's title.

My favourite track however has to be 'The Great Galleon of Plymouth' the second of Martin's own songs. An amusing 'tall tale' type of chorus song that deserves better exposure. Martin and Shan are joined on some tracks  by my old partner in crime Keith Kendrick who plays his usual sympathetic concertina accompaniments and other tracks are further enhanced by sensitive fiddle playing from Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll. Doug Bailey and Sylvia Needham help fill out the choruses on a couple of tracks.

They end the album with a strong and almost happy rendering of 'My Coffin Shall Be Black' involving all the personnel (and where the arithmetic in the song doesn't add up!). Not a subject you would normally associate with rejoicing but the way it's performed here definitely has that air about it making a fine finish to smashing album.



An attractive cover and full, erudite notes on the insert complete this fine CD.

Shirefolk

Tony O'Neil

Martin and Shan are a passionate pair of 'miners' of traditional song, having, for many years, been involved in work with the Sabine Baring-Gould manuscripts, hence the majority of the tracks on this CD are from that source, with two Cecil Sharp and two by Martin himself.

I normally approach this sort of 'deep tradition' CD with some trepidation, the contents of such can sometimes be learned and earnest, to the detriment of the material therein.  Not so, 'Dusty Diamonds'!  Due to a delicate touch with instrumentation and close harmonising, this CD has a light, airy feel to it making the content very approachable.  I found the old stalwarts, 'The Lark in the Morning' and 'Henry Martin', both to different tunes, refreshing.  The rest of the tracks are as delightful including a rousing Christian anthem, a song from Martin I defy anyone to tell from traditional and culminating in a mournful (but cheery) little ditty entitled 'My Coffin Shall Be Black'!

I liked the presentation, with the striking artwork and an informative booklet with notes giving sources and background enough to please the aficionado.

Taplas

Roy Harris

WEST Country duo Martin and Shan Graebe say they have 'mined the collections of Sabine Baring Gould and Cecil Sharp for these little gems'. Their mining has been fruitful, unearthing several gems of traditional song. Vocally they do a fine job on ballads such as Henry Martin, in a version I guarantee you've never heard before, and My Coffin Shall be Black, a grim but beautiful prayer song with a superb tune collected in Northumberland.

Keith Kendrick's concertina adds to this and other songs, as do Nick Wyke and Becky Driscoll on fiddles. Sylvia Needham weighs in with excellent backing vocals on an album that will further the reputation of Martin, Shan and Wild Goose Records.

Shreds and Patches

Chris �Yorkie� Bartram

I won't beat about the bush. This is, by far, the best CD I've heard from "revival" singers this year (I'm writing this in December 2008). In case you're wondering - the best "source" singer CD is Nimrod Workman's but that's for another review.

This is a superbly well-sung and well-presented collection of songs from the manuscripts of Baring-Gould and Cecil Sharp. There's also a couple of songs written by Martin though very few people would be able to spot which they are, as he is so good at writing in traditional forms.

Martin is one of the world's leading experts on the work of the Victorian collector, Sabine Baring-Gould and, for the past 15 years, he has been working on manuscripts housed in Plymouth Library. This has resulted in a number of songs being presented here for the first time since they were collected Some are variants of songs that are well known but, as they point out in the sleeve-notes, "the differences give them freshness and renewed charm". In particular, the version of a very widely-known song called The Shooting of His Dear, / Molly Vaughan / The Fowler and here called The Setting of the Sun, is breath-takingly beautiful. The story is told with delightful simplicity, with only hints of the supernatural elements that are more evident in other versions. But it's the tune that really makes the difference here. This tune is the finest I have heard with a sublime lift at the start of the chorus - "In a shower of rain as my darling did run all under some bushes, the shower to shun". I know I've said it before but I'll say it again - this track alone is worth the price of the CD. It is fabulous.

Martin has a quietly expressive voice with none of the flashy tricks that so many singers adopt. Unfortunately, this means that he is likely to be under-rated by people who are used to the flashy tricks (and particularly, those that are impressed by the breathy, over-emotional Mid-Atlantic whimperings of the Britain's got X-Factor Pop Stars crowd). I have to admit, I wasn't immediately impressed when I first heard Martin sing but, now that I have got to know him, I would put him high on my list of favourite singers. Shan is a more obviously "good singer" though she does not overshadow Martin at all - in fact their harmony singing is a wonderful example of mutually complimentary styles. On this CD they are accompanied on several tracks by Keith Kendrick, Sylvia Needham, Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll. Again, there's no flashy tricks - just excellent, appropriate and supremely listenable musicianship. This CD SHOULD win awards but, I'm afraid it is unlikely to. The performers are not young and attention-grabbing; there's no jazzing-up of the arrangements; it's full of solid values such as restraint, affection and dedication (and those values seem to be considered out of-fashion by the telly generation.) However - my advice to anyone that values real old-fashioned quality - give yourself a treat and buy this CD.

The sleeve-notes contain lots of information about the songs. You can read and download words and music from their website www.martinandshan.net.

EDS (EFDSS)

Clive Pownceby

'For this, our second CD together, we have mined the collections of Sabine Baring?Gould and Cecil Sharp for these little gems' say the artists in their liner notes to this rewarding release. The title comes from 'Down in the Coal Mine', noted at Hambridge, Somerset, in 1903 from Louie Hooper and Lucy White, and in Sharp's manuscripts but unpublished ?presumably because of his note 'not, of course a folk song.'

What you'll hear from these two singers decidedly is folk song and they have produced a potent, heartfelt album; a cohesive work, not just a grab?bag of odds and sods. Continuing themes from their first recording Parallel Lines, though not a strict sequel, theirs is a fresh and beautifully realised approach to English traditional song, mainly from the south?west. Featuring solos and harmonies, facilitated by additional voices, fiddle and concertina, the Graebes' CD show a deep understanding of the tradition, with arrangements and accompaniments directing the listener to the essence of the material ?and what material!

'Among the Green Hay', sung exquisitely by Shan, perfectly complements the melody behind and similarly `The Lark in the Morn' sounds as organic and natural as possible, with the partners' vocals making for an emotional whole, rather than 'style over substance' singing.

The choice blend of subject matter, an ample booklet with photos of the source singers and a scholarly overview demonstrating an appreciation of core values, should all endear Martin and Shan to you. They've surely found a place in this reviewer's heart.

Seriously satisfying.

The Living Tradition

Phil Thomas

This second album from Martin and Shan is a self?confessed and unashamed `raid' on the cobweb?ridden corners of the collections of Sabine Baring?Gould and Cecil Sharp and it contains some gems. Martin and Shan are real tradition?bearers, allowing simple, tasteful arrangements to permit the melody and words to stand proudly to the fore. The comprehensive and informative sleevenotes make reference to the difficulties the original collectors had in notating the songs they heard and acknowledge the personal imprint the duo (ably assisted by Keith Kendrick, Nick Wyke, Becki Driscoll and Sylvia Needham) have left on the material.

Any such imprint is no distraction. The 'weird' tunes (their description, not mine) of such songs as The Complaining Maid are challenging to listen to (and sing, I'm sure) and worth the effort. A Frigate Well Manned is another song that repays repeated listening. I have admired Martin's songwriting for some years and particularly enjoyed his two original songs on this album ('Shropshire Union' and the really memorable `Great Galleon of Plymouth').

I'm sure they will shift plenty of these at their gigs. Yet another tip of the hat to Doug Bailey at Wild Goose Studios ...he doesn't seem to put a foot wrong these days.

fRoots

Vic Smith

The received opinion of the collecting work of Rev. Sabine Baring?Gould as a folk song collector seems to have changed over the last few decades from 'Victorian bowdleriser' to 'important song collecting pioneer'. This was mainly the result of lots of new documentary evidence about the man coming to light and the way that this information has been researched and disseminated, mainly by Martin Graebe.

No surprise then that there are 11 items here ?the second album from Martin and Shan on WildGoose ?that are culled from the Baring?Gould manuscripts. The most significant things about the ones that they have chosen to include from this archive are the interesting and different melodies that they advance to carry the familiar stories of Molly Bawn, Henry Martin and The Lark In The Morn.

Of course, for many older readers, the first time that we heard the name was back in 1973 when Martyn Wyndham?Read recorded Martin's composition, Harry The Hawker Is Dead as the title track of an album and there are reminders of Martin's songwriting here with a canal song from the 1970s and the delights of a gargantuan Great Galleon Of Plymouth which is at one remove from The Derby Ram.

Two tracks really grab the attention. The skilful pairing of Hunting The Hare and Adam The Poacher is given a considerable lift by the punchy twin fiddles of Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll providing strong cross?rhythms. Then they finish the album with My Coffin Shall Be Black which is heard as a children's song amongst Scots travellers and is given an interesting anthemic, fugal treatment.

Mardles

Colin Cater

This latest offering from Martin and Shan opens in contrasting style with the up tempo 'Bold Privateer', followed by a reflective setting of 'American Stranger' and a very jolly 'Hunting the Hare'. Martin has been active in the folk movement his whole lifetime, well known as a songwriter in his younger days - remember Peter's Private Army and Jack in the Green, still used on May Day at Bluebell Hill, Kent for the Jack in the Green Awakening. More recently he has been the leading light in extending knowledge of the life and work of Rev Sabine Baring Gould and to some extent rehabilitating him from the reputation as a bowdlerizer that had previously grown around him.

Marriage to Shan has re-ignited his desire to sing, largely based on previously unpublished material from Baring Gould's collections. As well as traditional songs, this album includes two written period pieces - the lugubrious dirge 'Come all you worthy Christians' written by Baring Gould himself and 'Shropshire Union', written by Martin, a snapshot of canal boating under nationalization whose worst fears for the future have thankfully not come to pass. The high point for me is 'The Setting of the Sun' - a stunning version of Polly Vaughan that Martin delivers with great aplomb. The whole offering is supported with well researched notes and photographs of many of the source singers.

Martin and Shan's singing is augmented splendidly throughout by Keith Kendrick's concertinas and the fiddling of Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll.

Most agreeable.

Dirty Linen USA

Duck Baker (Reading, England)

The performers featured on these releases were all young when the folk boom was upon us, but all have had other careers and demands on their time that haven't left much time for performing until recently.  Now they are making up for lost time with these commendable releases for a label that has become possibly the champion of recording traditional English music.

Jack Crawford's Pride of the Season is perhaps the most traditional of these titles in tone, if only because he's a solo singer. Minimal backing is provided on about half of the tracks, and only hard-core listeners will know many of the songs chosen.  For instance, Crawford covers Nic Jones' brilliantly reconstructed �Annan Water� and does quite a nice job with it, but the same singer's version of  �The Ploughman's Love� started Crawford on a long search for the fuller version provided here. Resisting the temptation to overproduction, label chief Doug Bailey has organized accompaniment that brings out the best both from Crawford and his material.

As its title suggests, Dusty Diamonds presents songs (or at least variants that have not been sung often at all. In fact, several seem never to have been recorded before. Martin Graebe has a special feeling for the songs collected by Sabine Baring-Gould, and this material dominates here, though the program also includes a couple of very traditional-sounding songs penned by Graebe himself. Again, accompaniment is minimal, limited to concertina and two fiddles, which are seldom all heard together. Shan Graebe's vocals, like her husband's, are free of affectation, true in pitch, and pleasing in tone. The Graebes don't mind using harmonizations that are not at all by-the-book, which is all as it should be. Better living interpretations than lifeless attempts at �correctness.�

Beyond the Quay is Tom and Barbara Brown's fourth release on Wild Goose, and it's dedicated to songs with seafaring themes. This is a not a sea chanty record, but a collection of ballads, fishermen's ditties, and Navy songs of various kinds. Both Browns are engaging singers and, again, where there is accompaniment, it's tasteful and effective. This record succeeds largely on the strength of a program that holds together particularly well.  A central theme helps (though it's just as easy to wear the listener out with this approach as it is to help the cause), but the songs themselves are all excellent vehicles, and they complement one another beautifully.