Just Another Day

by Tom and Barbara Brown

A combination of circumstances has unintentionally brought us to Minehead, in Somerset, as the unifying factor of this, our sixth CD, and we’ve decided to make it a ‘studio album’ - following our arrangement instincts instead of just creating a copy of stage performance. Cecil Sharp collected a number of songs from two retired sea captains in the town during a series of visits between August 1904 and May 1909. Cpt. Lewis (1835-1915) gave him 26 songs, Cpt. Vickery (1842-1916) gave him 13, and we came across them while researching for the Short Sharp Shanties project. The songs were very diverse and by no means all maritime; some were rare, others common (but in interesting variants). Together they give a fascinating window into the local vernacular song repertoire at the beginning of the 20th Century. The selection on this CD includes just some of our favourites: seven from Robert Lewis and five from James Vickery.

Barbara Brown: Lead & chorus vocals.

Tom Brown: Lead & chorus vocals, guitars, melodeons, English concertina, harpeleik.

Anahata: ’Cello.

Brenda Burnside: Hammered dulcimer and chorus vocals.

Jon Dyer: Flute and whistles.

Mary Eagle: Chorus vocals.

Keith Kendrick: Anglo concertina and chorus vocals.

Barry Lister: Chorus vocals.

Matt Norman: Mandolin, drum, and chorus vocals.

Paul Sartin: Fiddle, oboe and cor anglais.



The other three songs come from the Minehead Harbour Maritime Heritage Project. The project culminated in a series of cold-cast bronze panels mounted on the harbour wall, depicting periods in Minehead’s maritime history and the associated ship-types – from 400 A.D. to WW2. We were commissioned to find (trad.), adapt (localise) or create (there aren’t many songs from 400 A.D. which relate to Minehead maritime history!) a series of relevant songs – one each for the seven periods - and then to work with the community to record them as inspiration for the artist, Sue Webber, in creating the panels. Three of the seven songs we’ve borrowed back for this CD.

1 A Minehead Lad 
words: Tom. tune: Barbara 
This was written for panel 6 of the Minehead Harbour Project. It covers the period which included the decline of fishing, the development of the town as a holiday destination and the popular Campbell White Funnel Line paddle-steamers which serviced the holiday trade all along the Severn shores, until they were requisitioned as minesweepers by the Royal Navy - the ‘grey funnel line’ - during World War One. 

2 The Bonny Bunch of Roses O 
trad 
A song from the aftermath of another of Britain’s wars. This dialogue between Bonaparte’s son and the boy’s mother was a very widespread and popular song of its time. By the bicentennial year of the battle of Waterloo, the Scottish populace may yet have achieved what Boney failed to do, and struck a fatal blow to the Bonny Bunch of Roses – the Union! This version is from Robert Lewis 

3 Hunting of the Hare 
trad 
There are a few versions of this classic hare-hunting song (Martin and Shan Graebe recorded one collected by Sabine Baring-Gould on their Dusty Diamonds CD [WGS359]), and we’ve even seen it in print as Somersetshire Hunting Song. This is Vickery’s version – with more hunting-song clichés than you could throw a drag at. Tom sees no purpose in hare hunting – but then he is bald! 

4 Spanish Ladies 
trad 
Widespread, popular and supposed to be quite old – although the earliest broadside is 1845. Tom had some difficulty in learning Cpt. Lewis’s Æolian variant of the tune as both Tom’s father and the old singers in Cornwall sang the Ionian version! 

5 The Sea Captain 
trad 
Cpt. Vickery told Sharp that he had found the words of this song written on the fly-leaf of an old book, and had heard it sung and learnt the tune from an old man at Porlock Weir. The song turns up occasionally as a broadside entitled Young Squire’s Frolick. There have been versions collected at Langport in Somerset, in Co. Antrim and in West Virginia – so scarce, but widespread! 

6 Moll o’ the Wood 
trad 
Also known as Moll of the Wad – wad being 17th/18th century slang for a palliasse or mattress, and Moll o’ the Wad being a euphemism for a lady of negotiable virtue. Lewis only gave Sharp the tune and chorus and we suspect he deliberately chose not to sing him the words! There are various sets, all bawdy (except where published as a nursery rhyme!), so this set is the result of some song archaeology. Some say that the tune for Moll o’ the Wad is the origin of the morris dance tune Old Molly Oxford, we have our doubts - certainly of this version. Barry Lister has pointed out that this tune also carries the song The Comfort of Man 

7 The Isle of France 
trad 
This song seems to have been a favourite with the broadside printers – it was published regularly, all over the country from the 1840s to the 1880s and has been collected many times. Cpt. Lewis’s version has a particularly haunting tune. The Isle of France was the old name for Mauritius which was ceded to the English by France in post-Napoleonic treaty of 1815. England did a lot of trade with Mauritius because of the sugar plantations, but it was also en route to the penal colonies in Australia. As far as we know the story does not have a basis in fact. 

8 The London Man o’ War 
trad 
Both Lewis and Vickery can take credit for this one: Sharp collected the words from Lewis on 8th August (1904), and then got the tune from Vickery the following day! The song itself is not rare – it is sometimes called The Irish Captain or Captain Summerswell, and the name of the ship changes between the Lion, the Dolphin and, as here, The London Man o’ War. 

9 Franklin 
Following the loss of Lord Franklin’s 1845 exploratory voyage to find the north-west passage, a campaign was led by Franklin’s widow, to try to get the government to mount an expedition to find out what happened. Part of that campaign was a long broadside written in 1850 by George Boker, of which fragments remained in the tradition. Here is Vickery’s delightfully abbreviated version with the text slightly tidied up. 

10 The Lark in the Morn 
trad 
A widespread song of rural dalliance, and a battle of the sexes instead of nations – although there doesn’t really seem to be much conflict. Lewis’s tune encompassed a full two octaves, but Tom can’t manage that so he compromises. If you want to know the full tune – listen to the concertina! 

11 Heave Away My Johnny 
words: Tom, tune: trad. 
This is the only shanty collected in Minehead (unless you include Spanish Ladies for capstan use). Cecil Sharp actually collected it from Cpt. Vickery twice – in 1904 and 1907, and the tune differed between the two collections. Vickery’s words were the familiar ‘milkmaid’ text (“Where are you going to, my pretty fair maid?”), so we kept Vickery’s tune and set new words, drawing on information from local maritime historian John Gilman, about the town’s ships and trade during the 19th century. This informed panel 4 of the Minehead Harbour Project. 

12 Greenland Fishery 
trad 
Another form of hunting - thankfully no longer generally practised. The song was widespread in England and Canada, although it crops up with a variety of different ship names and different years. From Cpt. Lewis. 

13 Reilly 
trad 
A song well-known on both sides of the Atlantic under several different titles – Reilly the Fisherman, Reilly Sent to America, Bold Riley, etc. Vickery sang a different first verse when he sang it to Cecil Sharp – a verse actually from a different song. 

14 The Devonshire Girls 
trad 
We rather like this one – coming from a Somerset man! In fact, of course, you can localize it to any county with three syllables, and the earliest broadside versions, of which there are several, seem to come from Lan-ca-shire. From Cpt. Lewis. Compare the tune with The Manchester Angel (thank you, Mary – interesting!) 

15 Just Another Day 
words: Tom, tune: Norbert Schultze 
This is our third Minehead Harbour Project song (panel 7), drawing on Minehead stories from World War Two, both ridiculous and tragic, that we gleaned from John Gilman’s excellent writings on local maritime history, and which are set to the iconic WW2 tune used for the poem Lili Marlene. Two recovered fragments of the Mouette – a piece of the name-board and a portion of the tiller – which used to be kept in the lifeboat shed, together with Slade’s war medal and citation, are now in the museum in the former Beach Hotel. 
A Minehead Lad
This was written for panel 6 of the Minehead Harbour Project. It covers the period which included the decline of fishing
The Bonny Bunch of Roses O
A song from the aftermath of another of Britain’s wars. This dialogue between Bonaparte’s son and the boy’s mother was a very widespread and popular song of its time. By the bicentennial year of the battle of Waterloo
Hunting of the Hare
There are a few versions of this classic hare-hunting song (Martin and Shan Graebe recorded one collected by Sabine Baring-Gould on their Dusty Diamonds CD [WGS359])
Sample not available
Spanish Ladies
Widespread
Sample not available
The Sea Captain
Cpt. Vickery told Sharp that he had found the words of this song written on the fly-leaf of an old book
Sample not available
Moll o’ the Wood
Also known as Moll of the Wad – wad being 17th/18th century slang for a palliasse or mattress
The Isle of France
This song seems to have been a favourite with the broadside printers – it was published regularly
Sample not available
The London Man o’ War
Both Lewis and Vickery can take credit for this one: Sharp collected the words from Lewis on 8th August (1904)
Sample not available
Franklin
Following the loss of Lord Franklin’s 1845 exploratory voyage to find the north-west passage
Sample not available
The Lark in the Morn
A widespread song of rural dalliance
Sample not available
Heave Away My Johnny
tune: trad.
Sample not available
Greenland Fishery
Another form of hunting - thankfully no longer generally practised. The song was widespread in England and Canada
Sample not available
Reilly
A song well-known on both sides of the Atlantic under several different titles – Reilly the Fisherman
Sample not available
The Devonshire Girls
We rather like this one – coming from a Somerset man! In fact
Sample not available
Just Another Day
tune: Norbert Schultze

Folk Northwest

Derek Gifford

The latest CD from this well known and respected duo features a splendid collection of songs from the town of Minehead in North Devon.

The album opens with a jolly song called A Minehead Lad which was written by Tom for the Minehead Harbour Project and has an infectious chorus.

There's a lively hare hunting song collected by Cecil Sharp from a certain Captain Vickery and another song from the same source well sung by Barbara called The Sea Captain which is an amusing tale of frolicsome seduction. Moll o'the Wood from the singing of another sea captain, Captain Lewis, is similarly up beat.

The Isle of France was the old name for Mauritius and this song involves historical connections with transportation. Many of the songs are different versions of well known songs such as The Bonny Bunch of Roses O, Spanish Ladies, The Lark in the Morn, Heave Away Me Johnnie and a particularly interesting version of Greenland Fishery (AKA The Greenland Whale Fishery as sung in another version from William (Bill) Bolton of Southport). Franklin, sung by Barbara however is a very different version from the well known Lord Franklin.  The title track Just Another Day is another of the Minehead Harbour Project songs appropriately set to the World War Two tune Lili Marlene which brings the album to an excellent finish.

All of the fifteen tracks are competently performed whether in unaccompanied harmony or with carefully arranged accompaniments in which Tom and Barbara are assisted on some of the tracks by the atmospheric cello playing of Anahata, Brenda Burnside's hammered dulcimer, Jon Dyer's flute and whistle, Keith Kendrick's Anglo concertina, Matt Norman's mandolin and Paul Sartin on fiddle, oboe and cor anglais. In fact a veritable orchestra!

Choruses are also aided by Brenda, Keith, Matt, Mary Eagle and Barry Lister making a choir of distinction to say the least.

This is not 'just another' CD because it contains a wealth of fascinating material and, as Tom states in the erudite and comprehensive sleeve notes, this is a 'studio album' and is therefore more of a project rather than an attempt at illustrating Tom and Barbara's stage performances. Even so, the whole album has a feeling of relaxed enjoyment from all of the performers. There is something here for all tastes in traditional song and I highly recommend it.

The cover is attractive too with photos of sunrise and sunset over Minehead nicely designed in the layout by Hilary Bix. All good stuff!

Folk News Kernow

Chris Ridley

These fine voices are joined by five more, along with six instruments, so the 15 tracks range from solos to grand choruses.  A dozen songs were collected by Cecil Sharp from two sea-captains while three more have been written by Tom and Barbara themselves.  The 8-page booklet is very informative; there are several interesting variants, for example Franklin, sung by Barbara, and Heave Away My Johnny with new words by Tom.  Standout track is the title track, words by Tom, tune Lilli Marlene.  Good one guys.  

fRoots

David Kidman

The West Country duo's latest CD has a simple enough premise, outlined in its subtitle �songs old and new collected in, or written for, the town of Minehead.

Its nucleus comprises a dozen songs collected by Cecil Sharp over a century ago from two retired Minehead seacaptains (James Vickery and Robert Lewis).  Within the sequence of these is tucked a shanty (Heave Away My Johnny) for which Tom provided new words as part of the 2014 Minehead Harbour Heritage Project, while neatly bookending the entire set is a pair of songs written by Tom and Barbara themselves specially for this project, concerning themselves with the Edwardian era (A Minehead Lad) and World War 2 (the title track, set to the Lili Marlene tune) respectively.  

We can always rely on Tom and Barbara to come up with a fresh angle on song repertoire and Just Another Day is arguably their most stimulating collection to date. Each of the songs is solidly researched, with loving attention to detail, and performed with a characteristic warmth. The diversity in the material might surprise, for it's by no means exclusively maritime in theme, and we find some particularly interesting variants or perspectives on songs or tales we thought we already knew backwards (The Lark In The Morning, Franklin, Spanish Ladies and Greenland Fishery being prime examples). Perhaps the most familiar item is The Bonny Bunch Of Roses O, here given a sterling reading by Barbara which highlights both the Browns' skill in instrumental arrangement and the excellent support playing which they command, with oboe, fiddle, cor anglais, anglo concertina, hammered dulcimer, flute, whistle, cello and mandolin used selectively and to really good effect. (Paul Sartin, Keith Kendrick, Jon Dyer, Anahata, Brenda Burnside and Matt Norman, with Barry Lister and Mary Eagle are among those swelling the ranks.)

Even so, the sheer strength of Tom and Barbara's own singing is paramount and the disc's three purely a cappella tracks are expectedly splendid; I especially enjoyed Hunting Of The Hare. Yes, for a spirited and committed tradition-based collection with thought-provoking content and superb arrangements you just can't do better.

Folking .com

Dai Jeffries

Over the years Tom and Barbara Brown have become elder statespersons of the West Country folk music scene and have done so without ever forgetting what it was that drew them (and me for that matter) to traditional music in the first place. This is important as we will see.

Just Another Day� is a collection of songs connected with Minehead and if you think that concentrating on one small Somerset town is limiting you couldn't be more wrong. Twelve of these songs were collected by Cecil Sharp from just two sources � retired sea captains Lewis and Vickery � and were unearthed by Tom and Barbara while researching the three records of Short Sharp Shanties, a collection of songs collected by Sharp from John Short of Watchet just along the coast. Incidentally, if you haven't heard this marvellous set you should do so immediately, but I digress. The point is that you never know what you'll find unless you look and listen.

The other three songs come from The Minehead Harbour Maritime Heritage Project and this is where the importance of knowledge, experience and, yes, status comes in. The opening track, 'A Minehead Lad', was written by Tom and Barbara for the project to illustrate the period around the Great War. Listen to it blind and you might say it came from the tradition; told you were wrong, you might hazard that Kipling had a hand in the lyric. For the final, title track, a song �from� World War II, Tom nicked the tune 'Lili Marlene'� cheeky but with the ring of authenticity. You can't fake that feeling for what is right.

The supporting musicians and singers are long-time friends: Anahata, Mary Eagle, Keith Kendrick, Barry Lister and Paul Sartin among them, and they play with the ease of experience and familiarity. You may recognise some of the titles but the versions will often be unfamiliar. Critics may call Just Another Day�old fashioned but that's part of the joy of folk song. Here are choruses you can sing along with and stories to keep you enthralled � imagine, if you can, hearing 'The Bonny Bunch O Roses O' for the first time � and don't say that a song like 'Franklin' isn't relevant. Nearly 170 years on there are reports that one of the expedition's ships has just been found. I'm sorry if this has turned into a seminar but Just Another Day�reminds me why I've been listening to this music for nearly fifty years and that's more than enough to make me recommend it.

EDS

Fred McCormick

This CD could be considered an adjunct to the work which Tom and Barbara Have been doing with Cecil Sharp's collection of John Short's shanties for the past few years.  Short's repertoire doesn't figure on this outing, but the songs are from his part of the world.  Thirteen in fact were collected by Sharp from two Minehead sea captains � Robert Lewis and James Vickery.  These are augmented by two delightful compositions from the Brown stable: 'A Minehead Lad' and 'Just Another Day'.

The traditional songs are an excellent bunch, with particularly good renditions of 'Isle of France' and 'Reilly'.  I was especially glad to hear an unusual text of 'Lord Franklin.'  It makes a welcome change to the one which has been doing the rounds for years now.  Normally I have an aversion to over-orchestrated CDs, and I cringed a little when I saw the list of musicians who'd participated here.  I needn't have worried.  The playing is first class, the arrangements are tasteful and nowhere do the accompaniments even come close to dominating the singing!

The notes are informative, rather than scholarly.  That's fair enough, but there should surely have been some indication as to where the songs can be found in Sharp's collection.  Also, I'm not sure what to make of the note to 'The Bonny Bunch of Roses O'.  The author seems not to realise that the Act of Union, which incorporated Ireland into the UK and gave rise to the phrase 'bonny bunch of roses', was a separate piece of legislation to the one which had similarly incorporated Scotland almost a century earlier.  Finally, I should have waxed lyrical about the splendid sunset photos of the Minehead coast.  No matter.  You'll see them yourself when you buy the CD.  

R2

Ian Croft

Tom and Barbara Brown are established traditional singers from Devon, and this album is best explained by its subtitle, Songs From Minehead   Then And Now. They perform twelve songs collected by Cecil Sharp from two retired sea captains, along with three of their own, written for Minehead Harbour Maritime Heritage Project.

The traditional songs are mostly familiar, though here in a local variant. 'Franklin' is quite different from the better known 'Lord Franklin' both in tune and length, and 'The Devonshire Girls' puts a local flavour to a song often found in Lancashire. 'Moll 0'The Wood' is one of the less common items apparently Sharp was sung tune and chorus but verses were deemed too bawdy!

The three self composed songs compare well. 'A Minehead Lad' is a jaunty tale of changing times. 'Heave Away My Johnny' and 'Just Another Day' are Tom's stories to existing tunes; the former traditional, the latter 'Lili Marlene, which really suits Barbara's voice.

Tom and Barbara take turns at lead vocals, and Tom accompanies all but three songs on guitar, melodeon or concertina. There's also instrumental support and lusty chorus singing from friends too numerous to mention, and it all contributes to a fine album of (largely) traditional material, yet another from the ever reliable WildGoose.

Shire Folk

Tony O�Neill.

Tom and Barbara Brown live in Combe Martin' in their beloved County of Devon and their repertoire draws heavily on the traditional songs of the West Country.  This CD (their sixth) is collection of songs collected from two retired Minehead sea Captains, James Vickery and Robert Lewis over 100 years ago plus three written specially by Tom and Barbara for the 2014 Minehead Harbour Heritage Project.

As with their previous offerings, a considerable amount of research, 'song archaeology', not to mention lifetimes of knowledge has been needed on the arrangements to put this CD together.  

The recordings, by the redoubtable Doug Bailey of 'WildGoose', have used a whole host of Folk performers and a host of instruments to give a full rounded feel to the presentation.  Having said that I do rather like the only acappella track, a shanty sung by Barbara, 'Heave Away My Johnny' (words by Tom, tune trad).  The overall result is a very pleasant listen.

The songs themselves are a varied bunch with a natural leaning towards the sea.  I particularly liked 'The Bonny Bunch of Roses O', the rollicking  'Moll O' the Wood', the pensive 'The Isle of France' and the very different 'Franklin'.

The presentation with it's booklet giving the background to the material is pleasing.  

The Living Tradition

Fiona Heywood

Tom and Barbara Brown are no strangers to the folk scene in England and beyond.  Having already released five albums on the WIldGoose label, this recording only goes to strengthen their reputation as one of the best traditional song duos around.

They have a passion for the traditional songs of the West Country.  The last few years have seen them work with WildGoose to create the Short Sharp Shanties series, which recorded the songs of Watchet shantyman, John Short.  Tom has since published a biography of John Short which accompanies and augments the CDs.  Now, their latest album sees them record 15 songs collected by Sharp from to sea captains in Minehead (James Vickery and Robert Lewis) along with three of their own songs about the area written as part of the Minehead Harbour Projext.

Many of the songs here are familiar, but often the versions are slightly different, making for an intriguing listen.  Tom and Barbara's trademark strong voices and effortless harmony singing combine easily with tasteful but restrained accompaniment from a group of very talented friends.  The friends also join them on some great choruses and refrains.  Although Tom and Barbara have opted to record this as a studio album rather than trying to re-create the feel of a live performance, you can hear how these songs will fit perfectly into their live set.

This is folk music at its best � great songs, solid singing, well-informed singers with good stories to tell.  

Whats Afoot

Jacqueline Patten

Tom and Barbara Brown have become immersed in the seafaring history of the West Somerset and North Devon coast along with the traditions and songs associated with it.  After the highly acclaimed series of CDs Short Sharp Shanties on which was recorded the entire repertoire of Watchet shantyman John Short, this album comprises eleven of the songs that Cecil Sharp collected from two retired sea Captains in Minehead, Robert Lewis and John [sic] Vickery, plus three that Tom and Barbara wrote for the Minehead Harbour Project.

The songs from Lewis and Vickery were diverse and by no means all maritime, some are rare, some more well known.  Of those chosen for this CD the maritime songs include 'Spanish Ladies', 'The Sea Captain', 'Franklin', and 'The Greenland Fishery'; while those associated with the land include 'The Bonny Bunch of Roses O', 'The Lark in the Morn', and 'The Devonshire Girls'.  Many of the songs can be heard on the folk scene today, rarely are they heard in these versions.  Both the opening and closing tracks, 'A Minehead Lad' and 'Just Another Day' were drawn from the MInehead Harbour Project.  They set the scene perfectly at the same time as setting the strong performance style that persists throughout.  The other taken from the same project is 'Heave Away My Johnny', new word by Tom put to a tune that Sharp collected from Cpt. Vickery.

Every track is refreshingly varied with strong vocals and accompaniment.  Careful thought has gone into the arrangements.  For the recording Tom and Barbara were joined by an array of talented friends: Barry Lister, Matt Norman, Paul Sartin, Keith Kendrick, Anahata, Brenda Burnside, Jon Dyer and Mary Eagle all make contributions.  Finally credit should be given to Doug Bailey for another excellent production from Wildgoose.  

Bright Young Folk

Paul Woodgate

According to various sources, Minehead's first port can be traced to 1380.  If my maths is correct, Tom and Barbara Brown had 634 years of history to draw on when they embarked upon Just Another Day, their sixth album and one that focuses on the town, in particular its seafaring past.

At the album's core are twelve songs found at Cecil Sharp House, collected from two sea captains a century ago.  The remaining three are originals, though you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference.

It will not be a surprise to learn that Just Another Day includes all the ingredients of a classic traditional set.  The songs are story/history based, the majority with a chorus or bridge that encourages a sing-along from the floor, and most offer up either a social or political commentary in varying degree.

There's a reason why these elements remain unchanged � they provide the default by which tales, opinion and a moral compass were passed from generation to generation.  You can hear it in the haunting flute melody of A Bonny Bunch of Roses O, the song arranged such that you can almost see Elizabethan villagers stepping formally through a dance routine, or the needs-no-introduction lyric of Spanish Ladies.

Tom and Barbara have treated the songs with a caretaker's respect, tweaking and amending here and there but always staying true to their origins.  The Sea Captain has a nice twist towards the end of its tongue-in-cheek lyric, oll o' the Wood employs some lovely squeezebox and The Isle of France is a beautiful rendering of the transportation ballad.

Two numbers, Hunting of the Hare and Greenland Fishery, deal with topics considered controversial in 2014, but these are not new songs and where the re-telling of stories are concerned, context is king.  In this instance, both act as historical reminders of a different cultural perspective that it whould shame us not to remember; forgetting is why history repeats itself.

It's not all serious or demanding of discussion.  The Devonshire Girls is a light-hearted moment and if you want to imagine yourself in a portside ale house with returning seamen, Heave Away My Johnnie will have your blood coursing.  New or old, these are songs you can't help but like.  It's a lovely album by an accomplished and experienced duo doing their best to keep tradition going.  

Mardles

Val Haines

Most of the songs on this album are those collected by Cecil Sharp from two retired sea captains, Robert Lewis and James Vickery. In addition, there are three written by Tom and Barbara which are from a song series celebrating Minehead's maritime heritage. As with many studio albums the artists have enlisted an army of musicians to enhance their performance: Anahata on cello, Brenda Burnside on hammered dulcimer, Jon Dyer on flutes, Keith Kendrick on concertina, Matt Norman on mandolin and Paul Sartin on fiddle and oboe. Tom himself plays guitar, melodeon, concertina and harpeleik, a kind of zither. The added instrumentation does not detract from what we have come to know as the 'traditional style' of the songs. Those written by Tom also sound very traditional but they are the highlights of the album for me and I would have liked more.

Folk Monthly

Kath Deighton

This is Tom and Barbara Brown's sixth CD on the independent English music label WildGoose and it takes us to the West Country and, in particular, to Minehead. Tom and Barbara specialise in traditional songs of the West Country and sea shanties are very much part of this tradition. The majority of the songs were collected by Cecil Sharp between 1904 and 1909 from two retired Minehead sea captains, James Vickery and Robert Lewis. Many of the songs will be familiar to folk club audiences, but Tom and Barbara have used lesser known tunes, particularly to Spanish Ladies, which Tom says he had difficulty in learning, as he was used to the version he had been brought up with.

The notes on the CD are interesting and enlightening. Apparently, Heave Away My Johnny was collected by Cecil Sharp from James Vickery twice, in 1904 and again in 1907 and the tune differed between the two collections. It reinforces the fact that traditional music has always evolved over time and whilst tradition should be respected, change is not necessarily a bad thing.

Although the majority of the songs on Just Another Day are traditional, three come from the Minehead Harbour Maritime Heritage Project which Tom and Barbara were involved in. These songs fit in well with the overall theme. The sound is uncomplicated and has a folk club chorus sing feel to it. There are many luminaries of the folk world credited, but they don't overwhelm and I was particularly taken with the cello playing of Anahata on The Sea Captain.

Much research has gone into this album and its varied set of songs should appeal to traditional music lovers and those who love songs of the sea. I imagine some of this material will crop up in folk clubs before long.

Folk London

Alison Frosdick

Tom and Barbara Brown are stalwarts of the traditional folk music scene and, in particular, collectors and performers of songs from the West Country. Their latest CD, Just Another Day, is a collection of songs with the unifying factor of being connected to the Somerset town of Minehead.

During research for the Short Sharp Shanties project, Tom and Barbara came across 39 songs collected by Cecil Sharp from Cpt Lewis, (26), and Cpt Vickery, (13). From these they have selected some of their favourites for this, their sixth CD.

The three other songs, starting with A Minehead Lad were written especially for the Minehead Harbour Heritage Project. This particular song covers the life of the town and the requisitioning of the paddle steamers by the Royal Navy during the Edwardian and World War I period. A version of Heave Away My Johnny with words by Tom, draws on information about the town's ships and trade during the 19th century had me joining in with the lusty harmonies provided by a number of supporting musicians and long time friends, Keith Kendrick, Paul Sartin, Anahata, Barry Lister and Brenda Burnside, to name but a few! The third original song, Just Another Day, takes the iconic WW2 tune used for the poem Lili Marlene and draws on Minehead stories from the same period both ridiculous and tragic. To find out more about this particular project, check out Tom and Barbara's website.

Most of the songs on this fine CD contain political or social commentary to varying degrees. The Sea Captain is a lovely 'tongue in cheek' romp involving 4 women and men from different social stations with the same smile inducing twist for each of them at the end of the song. The Isle of France, beautifully sung by Barbara to a haunting tune, tells of convict transportation although, according to the sleeve notes, which are very informative by the way, has no basis in fact.

The majority of the songs do, however, encourage singing along and I suggest you do ...heartily!