Heirlooms

by Chris Sarjeant

In popular usage, an heirloom is something, perhaps an antique or some kind of jewelry, that has been passed down for generations through family members. In a reasonably short time, Chris has built a strong reputation as a live performer, appearing at a number of the country’s leading folk clubs and venues, in addition to this, Chris has worked as a performer for several years as part of leading music charity Live Music Now and is in high demand in London where he lives, as a teacher, most recently tutoring in folk performance at Goldsmith’s College.

Chris Sarjeant - Vocals/ Guitar/ Harmonium/Piano

Jonny Dyer - Accordion

Issy Emeny - Melodeon

Pete Flood - Percussion

Keith Kendrick - Concertina

Jackie Oates - 5 String Viola/ Vocals

Vicki Swan - Nyckelharpa/ Double Bass

Benedict Taylor - Strings



Chris is a young singer and guitarist steeped in the folk music tradition of the British Isles. Chris’s father, Derek Sarjeant was an early pioneer of the British revival, a performer, promoter and collector of folksong who made a number of radio and television appearances during the 1960s.

Chris initially set out to train as a professional pianist, a path which led to him spending four years in Manchester studying at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. It was whilst up north that Chris began rediscovering the sounds of his childhood and before long, a hankering for nostalgia developed into an obsession with the music of the folk tradition. Since making the decision to devote himself to folk music, Chris has steadily built acclaim for both his guitar playing and for his vocal interpretation of English song and for his modern yet sympathetic arrangements.

2012 will see the release of Chris’s debut album, ‘Heirlooms’, and will feature several of the current movements leading instrumentalists including Jackie Oates, Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer, Keith Kendrick and Pete Flood in support. The title, ‘Heirlooms’, is a reference to songs that Chris performs now, passed down and cherished by successive generations of his family, and to the traditional passage of folksong in general.

1 Bonny Labouring Boy 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/BT 

This version was learnt orally by my father one night at Chichester Folk Club. 

2 Coast of Barbary 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/PF/KK/JO 

This version I learnt from the recording made by Peter Bellamy on his 1979 album, Both Sides Then. 

3 Lord Marlborough 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/JO/VS 

John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) was a pre-eminent military and political figure during the reigns of Queen Anne and George I, in fact, to some historians, he is the greatest British military commander to have ever lived. He died of a stroke at his still unfinished, Blenheim palace in Oxfordshire. This song is a highly romanticised eulogy imagined as Marlborough's final words. 

4 Once I Loved a Maiden Fair 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS 

A song printed initially as a dance tune in Playford's “English Dancing Master” of 1651 although the original words still remain. My arrangement is influenced by Dave Swarbrick's mandolin variations. 

5 Chilbridge Fair 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/IE/PF/JO 

My father learnt this wonderfully euphemistic song from his friend John Pearse in the 60s and recorded it on his 1974 album - Folk Matters.

6 Farewell Dearest Nancy 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/BT 

Lyrically, this is the version as recorded by Martin Carthy (without the final repetition of the first verse), the piano arrangement was inspired to a degree by Sharp's own settings. 

7 Our Ship Lies in Harbour 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/JD/PF/VS 

The main body of the song came from the Lucy Broadwood collection. I felt the story was somewhat incomplete and so added a couple of verses from the Bold Dragoon. 

8 Coal not Dole 
Words - K. Sutcliffe - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/JD 

Kay Sutcliffe, whose husband lost his mining job in 1984, wrote these powerful words around a popular contemporary political slogan. The melody I took from Swan Arcade's acapella version. 

9 AB Hornpipe/Mrs Bolowski's 
K. Tickell - arr. C. Sarjeant CS 

My arrangement of Kathryn Tickell's brilliant Northumbrian Pipe hornpipe and reel. 

10 Rambling Robin 
Trad. arr. C. Sarjeant CS/IE 

I learnt this Yorkshire song from my mother who sang it on my parents final album, The Streams of Lovely Nancy. 

11 Haymaking 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS 

Again this popular Sussex song came from my parents 

12 Streams of Lovely Nancy 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/KK/JO 

Recorded by my parents as the title track on their final album. This is a beautifully poetic and at times, abstract Dorset version. 

13 Bay of Biscay 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/JO/VS 

This version came from Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on their 1968 album Folk Songs of Olde England Vol 2 and I had fun trying to trace a solo melody through their expert duet arrangement. 

14 Wanton Seed 
Trad - arr. C. Sarjeant CS/PF/VS 

I grew up (like many others), listening to Nic Jones and this is my own modest tribute - Nic recorded The Wanton Seed on his 1977, and sadly currently unavailable album, The Noah's Ark Trap. 'Miles Weatherhill', from the same album was also an influence on the instrumentation 
Bonny Labouring Boy
This version was learnt orally by my father one night at Chichester Folk Club.
Coast of Barbary
This version I learnt from the recording made by Peter Bellamy on his 1979 album
Lord Marlborough
John Churchill
Sample not available
Once I Loved a Maiden Fair
A song printed initially as a dance tune in Playford's “English Dancing Master” of 1651 although the original words still remain. My arrangement is influenced by Dave Swarbrick's mandolin variations.
Sample not available
Chilbridge Fair
My father learnt this wonderfully euphemistic song from his friend John Pearse in the 60s and recorded it on his 1974 album - Folk Matters.
Sample not available
Farewell Dearest Nancy
Lyrically
Sample not available
Our Ship Lies in Harbour
The main body of the song came from the Lucy Broadwood collection. I felt the story was somewhat incomplete and so added a couple of verses from the Bold Dragoon.
Sample not available
Coal not Dole
Kay Sutcliffe
Sample not available
AB Hornpipe/Mrs Bolowski's
My arrangement of Kathryn Tickell's brilliant Northumbrian Pipe hornpipe and reel.
Sample not available
Rambling Robin
I learnt this Yorkshire song from my mother who sang it on my parents final album
Sample not available
Haymaking
Again this popular Sussex song came from my parents
Sample not available
Streams of Lovely Nancy
Recorded by my parents as the title track on their final album. This is a beautifully poetic and at times
Sample not available
Bay of Biscay
This version came from Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on their 1968 album Folk Songs of Olde England Vol 2 and I had fun trying to trace a solo melody through their expert duet arrangement.
Sample not available
Wanton Seed
I grew up (like many others)

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

Excuse me dear reader while I make a very unprofessional remark: 'This album is simply shit hot!'

This is Chris Sarjeant's debut album and what a stunning way to begin his recording career. Chris has a fine pedigree as his father, Derek, was deeply involved in the folk revival during the 1960s and his late mother, Hazel, was a widely respected traditional singer. A number of the songs here are sourced from them.

Chris's treatment of the mostly traditional songs on the CD is innovative and very well thought out in terms of arrangements and accompanying musicians. The latter are Jackie Oates on fiddle, Pete Flood (of Bellowhead) on percussion, Vicki Swan on double bass and that wonderful nyckelharpa that she plays, Jonny Dyer on accordion, Issy Emeny on melodeon and my old mate Keith Kendrick on concertina. With a line up like that (the 'Wild Goose musical mafia' I call 'em!) you have to be on your metal and Chris rises to it with some superb guitar work, piano and harmonium playing (he attended the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester as a pianist for 4 years) and a rich, warm, clear and tuneful voice.

OK, it's all brilliant stuff but which tracks did I like best?

Well, a good example is the way he takes the well known song 'Farewell Dearest Nancy' slowly and moderately in tempo with a lovely piano and fiddle accompaniment. He uses a wonderful guitar accompaniment to Kay Sutcliffe's song 'Coal Not Dole' and comparisons with Nick Jones (who has obviously been an influence on Chris as he admits on the 'Wanton Seed' track) are inevitable. His treatment of 'Haymaking' a traditional song from Sussex is also interestingly arranged with subtle changes in tempo.

The instrumental tracks on guitar are also so good that I'm running out of superlatives! These include Kathryn Tickell's Northumbrian pipe tunes, the hornpipe 'AB Hornpipe' and the reel 'Mrs. Bolowski's'. A new song to me is 'Chilbridge Fair' which Chris learned from his father who in turn learned it from John Pearse (remember him in the TV series 'Hold Down A Chord'?) in the 1960s.

I can honestly say that there is not a single duff track on this CD and, coupled with the usual informative sleeve notes and Wild Goose's excellent recording and presentation, I can recommend this album without hesitation.

Folk Monthly

Kath Deighton

Chris Sarjeant is a new name on the folk scene, but he comes from a family steeped in the folk tradition and is rapidly making a name for himself. His father, Derek Sarjeant, was an early pioneer of the British folk revival, so music was very much a family tradition, but Chris initially set out to train as a professional pianist, studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. It was during this time that he became nostalgic for the music of his childhood and his future musical direction was set.

Heirlooms is Chris Sarjeant's debut album, although he has already built up quite a reputation as a live performer.

As well as playing the piano and harmonium he has taught himself to play the guitar, spurred on by old recordings of Martin Carthy and Nic Jones, and their style is very evident on this recording. The musical ability is impressive, but this does not detract from the words of the songs, which are treated with great importance and respect. Chris's voice is gentle and caressing, the sort of sound to listen to when you want to cancel out the stresses of the day.

Much of the material was learned by Chris from his parents, obviously inspiring the album title 'Heirlooms'. These songs include Bonny Labouring Boy, Chilbridge Fair, Rambling Robin, Haymaking and Streams of Lovely Nancy. Others have been learnt from recordings of such luminaries as Peter Bellamy and Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. Chris carefully details his sources in the album notes, but he isn't afraid to change things round a bit as in Our Ship Lies in Harbour, with a couple of verses added from The Bold Dragoon.

The album is very traditional in its content, although it does feature a rendition of Coal not Dole by Kay Sutcliffe. There are two instrumental tracks, Once I Loved a Maiden Fair from Playford and AB Hornpipe/ Mrs Bolowski's, learnt from Kathryn Tickell. Chris is joined by many well known and respected names of the folk world including Jackie Oates, Keith Kendrick, Vicky Swann and Jonny Dyer, who provide complementary accompaniments but never dominate.

Folk music can be difficult to define and there have been many discussions as to what it actually means. Listen to Heirlooms and you will be left in no doubt at all that this is folk music. The tradition is alive and well and treated with great affection and respect in this recording. It is thoroughly recommended.

Shire Folk

Tom Bell-Richards

Raised in an accomplished musical and folkie family, Chris Sarjeant has some serious musical study behind him as a piano student at Music College, but turned his attention to folksong and guitar.

On this CD he makes a very good thing of the traditional repertoire plus one recent composition. Listening to the album I was soon thinking 'Nic Jones', a comparison made with credit to Chris, and was then interested to read that Nic had been an influence. Chris's voice is lighter than Nic's but with similar qualities of warmth and clarity. The disc includes a couple of guitar instrumentals and Chris's playing has an effective blend of lyricism and rhythmic percussiveness. Martin Carthy is cited as another influence. I'd suggest that rhythm is one of Chris's best qualities, and for me the star track here is the jauntily murderous and piratical 'Coast of Barbary'. With nice variety of tempos and subjects, and effective backing contributions from friends, this is a highly listenable CD which ends cheerily with the barely euphemistic 'Wanton Seed'.

Making your mark on today's crowded folk scene isn't easy, but Chris has a depth of musicianship, and an ease with traditional and lively material that will help him stand out from the rest of the young 'blokes with guitars'.

On the ever excellent Wildgoose label.

EFN

ANDY STEVENS

This is the first album by Chris, a re interpretation of 14 traditional folk songs and tunes   many leant from his parents.

He has a soft, pleasant voice and plays guitar, harmonium and piano with accomplishment. Chris is accompanied by seven recognisable members of the Wildgoose musicians including Keith Kendrick, Jonny Dyer, Jackie Oates and Vicki Swan.

His finger picking guitar style is a little jazzy which suits tunes like I once loved a Maiden Fair, AB Hornpipe/Mrs Bulowski's, and his voice is best in ballads such as Farewell Dearest Nancy, but his arrangements of the well known robust tune, Lord Marlborough and Kay Sutcliffe's Coal not Dole don't seem to draw the best out of either to my taste. However his `Our Ship Lies in Harbour is much more lively and probably my favourite. Listen for yourself

Bright Young Folk

Liz Osman

Chris Sarjeant's debut album takes a number of songs learnt from his folk singer parents, alongside other favourites of his own, to create an album of "Heirlooms" which also manage to sound fresh in performance.

Chris' voice has elements of Nic Jones, and also of other young performers like David Gibb. It has empathy, emphasis and authority, all in just the right measure, whether lamenting Lord Marlborough, or cheekily singing of Wanton Seed. It is easy and pleasant to listen to.

Heirlooms opens with Bonny Labouring Boy, which begins with some electronic percussiveness, but this is deceptive; in reality the song, and the album as a whole is unashamedly acoustic, and all the better for not being overcomplicated in its renditions.

It is also an album with a lot of guests, but none of those featured (no matter how illustrious in their own right) overshadow the central flow of the album, and sense of Chris' interpretations. In fact, it takes repeated listening to really spot all the guests and the lovely delicate contributions they make.

The exception (in a good way) is Jackie Oates, who duets with Chris on Streams of Lovely Nancy and Bay of Biscay. Their voices gel together so well, and it can only be hoped that there will be an opportunity to see this combination live at some point. Particularly in Streams of Lovely Nancy there is just such a pleasing intersection of these two bright young folk.

As well as having a fine voice, Chris is a very accomplished guitarist (dare I say it) in the style of Nic Jones. He is percussive, inventive, intricate... the praise could go on! In Our Ship Lies in Harbour he puts down wonderful rhythmic, driving guitar, whilst a track like Coast of Barbary gives a more jaunty aspect alongside the concertina.

One particularly striking track is Rambling Robin, performed very differently from the recent Spiers and Boden version, and containing more in the way of pathos, all wrapped up in a very engaging tune.

On the basis of Heirlooms Chris Sarjeant should definitely be a name to watch, and to catch whenever you can! Roll on album number two!

R2

Dai Jefries

The name maybe familiar: Chris's parents Derek and Hazel were big in the 60s and, despite setting out to be a classical musician, he has returned to the musical environment of his childhood for his debut album.

Chris's style invites the description 'sensitive' but a better word would be 'empathic'. He finds the heart of a song and opens it up to new scrutiny. A distinguished cast of guest musicians supports his vision, which is not about clever arrangements for their own sake but about illuminating the text.

Several songs come from his parents' repertoire, 'Rambling Robin' and'Streams Of Lovely Nancy' among them, and others from their contemporaries. 'Coast Of Barbary' is from Peter Bellamy and has all the bounce that Peter could achieve when he was on a roll without in any way being an imitation. He calls 'Lord Marlborough' a eulogy and treats it so very different from the more familiar boisterous interpretations.

There are two understated solo guitar Instrumentals including a set by Kathryn Tickell and one modern song, 'Coal Not Dole', which is more lament than political posturing; nothing has really changed and that battle is lost.

Heirlooms is an excellent debut and, I hope, the first flowering of a long career.

Mardles

Trevor Ault

This CD's forte is the guitar playing. It is fluent, technically accomplished and precise. There is, for example, a baroque style of playing � runs and twirls and many notes - which creates wonderful intrumentals, such as the version of Once I Loved a Maiden Fair (from

Playford) and of Kathryn Tickell's AB Hornpipe and Mrs Bolowski's, and finely intricate backing for songs such as the traditional Lord Marlborough and Wanton Seed.

Most of the album consists of traditional songs of this kind, well served by Chris Sargeant's sweet and pleasant voice. Indeed, this gives the reason for the title � �Heirlooms�. It is presented as a recognition of and a memorial to his parents, both of whom were well known folk

musicians: �A number of the songs on this album were previously recorded by my parents; they are songs that I grew up with . . .� So they are probably well known in other versions to most of us, songs such as Bonny Labouring Boy, Coast of Barbary, Chilbridge Fair and Farewell Dearest Nancy.

A lot of attention, therefore, falls on the presentation of such well known songs and tunes � attention which is well rewarded on this album.

The arrangements are varied and interesting, as is the instrumentation, with Chris being joined on many tracks by other musicians such as Jonny Dyer, Keith Kendrick (concertina) and Jackie Oates (viola). No two tracks are similar in their organisation and texture, some being very beautiful (Farewell Dearest Nancy � with piano and viola) and some quite percussive and up (Chilbridge Fair).

One song stands out as being not traditional as the others are: Coal not Dole. The words were written in 1984 by Kay Sutcliffe, the wife of a miner who lost his job, and the melody is taken from Swan Arcade's acapella version. It is a very moving song and is accompanied here by that very baroque guitar style which features on several tracks. This seems at first rather inappropriate, but it quickly grows on you and adds much to the words.

Indeed the whole CD grows and grows on you. I play it over and over.

The Living Tradition

Tony Hendry

The old songs come to us as gifts from the past. We cherish them, polish them and bequeath them to the next generation like heirlooms. Songs learned from parents must be doubly precious. Five songs on Chris Sargeant's debut album came from father Derek and late mother Hazel, who were stalwarts of the folk revival. This act of remembrance doesn't dominate the album but gives it firm foundations.

Like a surprising number of younger performers, Chris is a classically trained musician who found liberation in folk music. More than a singer who accompanies himself competently on guitar, he's a true singer guitarist in the manner of Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, Martin Simpson or Dick Gaughan. He doesn't have their distinctiveness yet, and the echo of influences is too loud, but he's on his way. The expressiveness and technical skill of his singing and playing are already outstanding.

I enjoyed the opening Bonny Labouring Boy and the exciting arrangement of Our Ship Lies In Harbour. Another highlight is Rambling Robin, with a tragic homecoming in contrast to the better known Spencer The Rover. Several songs, like Lord Marlborough and Farewell Dearest Nancy, are taken more slowly than usual with arrangements too elaborate for my taste. The only modern song is Kay Sutcliffe's Coal Not Dole, best known in the John Tams version. The closing Wanton Seed is a tribute to Nic Jones.

Chris shows the steel and subtlety of his guitar skills on Once I Loved A Maiden Fair, from Playford's English Dancing Master, and a hornpipe and reel composed by Kathryn Tickell. Accomplished, understated musicianship is also heard from Jonny Dyer, Vicki Swan, Jackie Oates, Issy Emeney, Pete Flood, Keith Kendrick and Benedict Taylor.

The well known names on that list show the esteem in which Chris is already held.

fRoots

David Kidman

Chris is a young singer and guitarist steeped in the folk tradition of the British Isles, and this is his debut commercial recording. You may, however, remember his parents Derek and Hazel (nee King), who (following Derek's prolific solo career in the 1960s) became familiar faces on the British folk scene, during the '70s and '80s especially, recording half a dozen LPs as a duo and continuing to per�form right up to Hazel's tragic death from cancer in 2003. Although Chris trained as a concert pianist, he seems to have inherited his parents' empathy with Britain's folk her�itage, rediscovering the music he'd grown up surrounded by.


His own arrangements of traditional songs are both thoughtful and highly capable, his singing attractive and his guitar playing much of the 'gently intricate yet firmly accessible' school that we  hear in musicians like Martin Simpson and Ewan McLennan. The material Chris has chose for this album is intended as an affectionate homage to his parents' repertoire, consisting as it does of songs that have for him become cherished and personal family heirlooms. That means a number of familiar titles, then, several of which were previously recorded either by his parents as a duo (The Streams Of Lovely Nancy, Haymaking, Rambling Robin) or by his father solo (Bonny Labouring Boy, Chillbridge Fair). The disc's one contemporary selection is Kay Sutcliffe's Coal Not Dole, for which Chris adopts the melody used by Swan Arcade. Usefully, Chris's succinct booklet notes credit his sources, and he admits to deriving inspiration from, variously, Nic Jones (Wanton Seed), Hart & Prior (Bay Of Biscay) and Martin Carthy (In general).

Instrumental settings tend to revolve around Chris's interestingly busy, animated guitar, and the simple textures are selectively fleshed out by contributions from a pool of musicians comprising Jackie Oates, Pete Flood, Vicki Swan, Jonny Dyer, Issy Emeney and Keith Kendrick.

In the final analysis, while Chris's versions can't be considered radically challenging they're certainly well sung and played and pleasingly delivered, even if his apparent keenness to achieve individuality of phrasing occasionally gets in the way of the tune. As interludes, the disc also contains two sparkling instrumental tracks, Chris's deft, rippling arrangements of Playford and Tickell tunes.

EDS

Andy Turner

If, like me, you have not previously encountered Chris Sarjeant, you will almost certainly be familiar with the guests who accompany him on this debut CD, since these include Jackie Oates, Vicki Swan, Jonny Dyer, Issey Emeney, Keith Kendrick and Pete Flood. In fact, Chris was pretty much brought up on this music � his parents, Derek and Hazel Sarjeant, were both performers, and ran a folk club for many years. After training as a classical pianist, he has now returned to folk music, and several of the (mainly traditional) pieces here come from his parents' repertoire � or, failing that, their record collection.

He has a pleasant singing voice which somehow put me in mind of a more 'polite' Chris Wood. His highly accomplished guitar style is also not too dissimilar to Chris's, although that's probably just because they've both been subject to the same sort of influences. He freely admits in the CD notes that he has been influenced by performers such as Martin Carthy and Nic Jones � and, I'd guess, Martin Simpson too. But while he's clearly a product of the folk revival, I wouldn't like to imply that he is a mere copyist � he has stamped his own personality on these songs and tunes. And, despite the list of well-known guest performers, it's very much his album: the guests are there to enhance the accompaniments, not steal the show. In fact, if anything, there were places where I wished they had been brought a bit further forward in the mix.



The first time I listened to this record, I found myself thinking 'it's pretty good, but there's no killer track.' But then I discovered he had saved it till near the end, in the shape of a lovely vocal duet with Jackie Oates on 'Bay of Biscay'. I'm glad we don't have to award stars with EDS reviews, but if we did, this track would immediately have earned the CD an extra star.

Whats Afoot

Colin Andrews

The title is most appropriate since many of the traditional songs which Chris performs were learnt from his parents, Derek and Hazel, both of whom were prominent singers in folk revival. Certainly he grew up steeped in the folk tradition, and although he trained as a classical musician, he has returned to his folk roots. This is his debut album.

Chris has a fine melodic voice ideally suited to the traditonal songs which make up most of the tracks. They are all given an impressive, if sometimes over intricate accompaniment, not only by Chris on guitar, harmonium and piano but by a star studed line up which includes Vicki Swann & Jonny Dyer, Issy Emeny, Keith Kendrick, Pete Flood, Benedict Taylor and Jackie Oates. Jackie provides vocal harmony on some tracks. Although I enjoyed listening to the arrangements, I found myself thinking that Chris would come over very well as an unaccompanied singer. The Streams of Lovely Nancy would certainly have been more effective without instruments which seemed to drive the pace too much.

However, I find it very interesting and even quite exciting how different singers give well known songs a twist of their own, and Chris is one who is prepared to experiment with presentation. His guitar is at times reminiscent of legendary Nic Jones, and he also uses it to great effect on a couple of instrumental pieces by Kathryn Tickell, AB Hornpipe and Mrs Bolowski's. There is one modern song, the powerful Coal not Dole, composed by Kay Sutcliffe.

Tracks which particularly stand out for me are the Sussex Haymaking and The Bay of Biscay. I haven't yet seen Chris perform live, but I look forward to that occasion at some point in the future.

Folk London

Ivan North

Chris is a singer and guitarist steeped in the folk music tradition of the British Isles. His father and mother Derek and Hazel Sarjeant were a well known duo on the folk scene and for many years ran a club in Surrey. Chris initially set out to train as a pianist at the Royal Northern College of Music but whilst there he rediscovered his folk music roots and spurred on by recordings of Martin Carthy and Nic Jones he taught himself guitar.

This is his debut album. The title Heirlooms is a reference to the songs which have been passed down to him. He is joined by a number of instrumentalists: Johnny Dyer (accordion), Issy Emeny (melodeon), Pete Flood (percussion), Keith Kendrick (concertina), Jackie Oates (fiddle) and Vicki Swan (bass and nyckelharpa).

Of the 14 tracks only two are not traditional. Kay Sutcliffe's Coal not Dole is a reflection on the death of a coal mine. AB Hornpipe/Mrs Bolowski's are a hornpipe and reel by Kathryn Tickell and show his finger dexterity to great effect.

The opening track Bonny Labouring Boy displays his ability at holding the attention while relating a long story. The intricate guitar and fiddle accompaniment blend well together. Lord Marlborough is also a long song using his imagined last words. Sea songs feature highly in the folk genre and there are a number on this CD. Coast of Barbary is a lively song about a sea battle, Farewell Dearest Nancy concerns a sailor leaving his true love and in Our Ship Lies in Harbour he does return he has to fight the girl's father for her hand! In Bay of Biscay the sailor returns as a ghost.

To finish off we have the euphemistic Wanton Seed which comes appropriately from Nic Jones. Chris is a personable and highly talented performer and I can heartily recommend both his live performances and this CD.

Around Kent Folk

Kathy & Bob Drage

Chris was the opening performer in the concert marquee at Broadstairs Folk Week 2012. He leamt most of these songs from his parents hence the title. He trained as a classical musician but has now returned to his folk roots. He found, in the guitar an instrument he could teach himself, free of the rigid structures he was used to in formal piano training. His voice is relaxed, almost meditative   ideally suited to the traditional song. The arrangements are interesting and sensitive and allow the lyrics to dominate. We especially enjoyed 'Bonny Labouring Boy', 'Lord Marlborough', 'Our Ship Lies in Harbour', 'Rambling Robin', 'Streams of Lovely Nancy' and the cheekily sung 'Wanton Seed'. Instrumentals are 'AB Hornpipe/Mrs. Bolowski' (Kathryn Tickell) and the only non trad song 'Coal Not Dole'   Kay Sutcliffe's reflections on the death of a coalmine.

The CD has a timeless quality and Chris is now receiving the wide acclaim he richly deserves for his singing and guitar playing

Tykes News

Steve Jones

Boy but this country boy can play! Chris has evidently absorbed British traditional music through the skin from folk singing parents, Derek Sarjeant and Hazel King, and now brings a freshness and energy as well as consummate musicianship to that repertoire supported on this CD by the likes of Vicki Swan and Johnny Dyer. Chris's guitar playing lies on an artistic ley line that clearly passes through Carthy and Nic Jones. His considerable flair is ably demonstrated on a couple of guitar tune sets which establish him (in a world full of great guitarists) squarely amongst the upper echelons of players.

He has a fine voice and presents a choice selection of songs. Citing sources like Bellamy, and Hart & Prior, he delightfully rediscovers some great material, like the rather enigmatic Streams of Lovely Nancy and the Coast of Barbary. He travels from the sublime to the flagrant, with curious references to mowing meadows and sowing wanton seeds. The arrangements are tastefully controlled, subtle and colourful. I love his arrangement of Bay of Biscay, which has shades of John Martin/Danny Thompson about it with some glorious bowed double bass.

This debut album is an absolute cracker from a musician who clearly 'gets' the English traditional folk scene and has talent in bushels. I unreservedly commend it to you. Watch out for Chris...