Outway Songster

by Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

Cohen is a member of Granny's Attic and is releasing his first solo album of mainly traditional songs and tunes. Cohen plays concertina and melodeon on the album as well as singing. In the preface to their 1893 publication English County Songs, Lucy Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland describe ‘outway songsters’ who ‘not only sang favourite songs [i.e. traditional songs and popular songs of the era], but also actually invented new ones themselves.’ The repertoire of the ‘outway songster’ certainly dominates on this album; this is a selection of some of his current ‘favourite songs’, mainly traditional with the odd Victorian popular song thrown in for good measure and one song he's 'invented' himself. Along with these songs come a few of his favourite traditional tunes of seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century origin. fRoots Playlist selection *****



1 Ripon Sword Dance Song 
Trad 

I first came across Ripon Sword Dance Song on the Yorkshire Garland Group website (http://www.yorkshirefolksong.net), an online archive of songs collected in, or linked to Yorkshire. The song also appears in the 1930 issue of the Journal of the English Folk Dance Society in article by Douglas Kennedy on sword dance and mummers’ plays. Kennedy states that the song was collected by Dr C. H. Moody of Ripon in 1925 and forms part of a sword-dance play performed in Ripon around Christmas. I initially learnt this song with the intention of including it in a Christmas set, but having learnt it, I decided it was far too good a song to only sing at Christmas, so I undertook to re-write a slightly less festive version. The song I sing here is my reworking, with all references to Christmas removed and a handful of extra verses added from related calling on songs. 

2 Andrew Rose 
Trad 

A song I’ve known for longer than I can remember through recordings made by Tony Hall and later Damien Barber and Mike Wilson. A few years ago I rediscovered this song in Roy Palmer’s Oxford Book of Sea Songs and was inspired to learn it. The song tells the true story of Andrew Rose, the sailor from Orkney, who suffered horrific treatment and ultimately died at the hands of his ship’s crew, headed by Captain Henry Rogers. 

3 Trip to Birmingham/The Poll Booth/Tekeli 
Trad 

Three traditional jigs. ‘Trip to Birmingham’ is from John Walsh’s A Composite Music Volume published in 1748. The Poll Booth is in the tune books of Lawrence Leadley of Helperby, North Yorkshire. Leadley worked as a carpenter and architect, but in his teens and twenties (in around the 1840s) he played the fiddle in the village band, during which time he compiled a collection of several tune books. ‘Tekeli’ is from the manuscripts of James Winder of Wyresdale, Lancashire, compiled around 1834-1842. Returning to the manuscript to write the notes for this album, I realised just how much I’d unwittingly changed the tune, the original can be found on the brilliant Village Music Project website (http://www.village-music-project.org.uk/). For anyone wondering, ‘Tekeli’ is a Turkish word meaning “having or possessing goats; goaty” (thanks to Wikipedia for that definition!). 

4 Thomas Holt 
Braithwaite-Kilcoyne 

I came across the story on Thomas Holt in Roy Palmer’s The Folklore of Warwickshire. Thomas Holt was a musician from Coventry and father to nineteen children. Holt’s story was reported in a 1642 pamphlet entitled Fearefull Newes from Coventry, revealing that to solve his financial problems, Holt sold himself to the devil and, once his contract had expired, he was found with his neck broken and his money turned to dust. I’ve taken considerable artistic liberties with the original story and some may notice that I have also drawn on the traditional ballad ‘The Farmer’s Curst Wife’ (Child 278), in fact a number of people at my gigs have already mistaken this for a traditional variant of the classic ballad. Having based this song so heavily on ‘The Farmer’s Curst Wife’, when it came to putting a tune to the songs, I inadvertently managed to write an amalgamation of three of the traditional tunes for ‘The Farmer’s Curst Wife’, but it seems to fit so I have no desire to change it! 

5 Edward 
Trad 

Child ballad number 13; a classic ballad with variants throughout Britain, continental Europe and America. This tune and most of the text comes from Paddy Tunney who sang it as ‘What Put the Blood?’, a recording of which is available on Volume 3 of Topic’s Voice of the People series, O’er His Grave the Grass Grew Green. 

6 Harrogate Quadrille/Newcastle Station 
Trad 

Two more traditional tunes. Like ‘The Poll Booth’, ‘Harrogate Quadrille’ comes from the tune books of Lawrence Leadley. I found ‘Newcastle Station’ in Michael Raven’s One Thousand English Country Dance Tunes. 

7 Babylon 
Trad 

This variant of the classic ballad (Child 14) comes from Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s Travellers’ Songs from England and Scotland. MacColl and Seeger collected it from John MacDonald, a Lanarkshire traveller, in 1969. The verse structure of John MacDonald’s text for Babylon seems to be unique; whereas most feature a refrain on lines two and four of the verses, Macdonald’s verses begin with two lines, followed by a repeat of line two and a refrain. I have managed to unwittingly change this song in the process of learning and performing it; the tune is slightly different to the one printed in Travellers’ Songs, but I have also added some extra verses (and lost a few others on the way), quite where they came from, I have absolutely no idea! 

8 Tom the Barber 
Trad 

A variant of Child ballad 100, commonly known as ‘Willie o’ Winesbury’. I first heard this sung by Tony Rose on his 1982 LP Poor Fellows. The sleeve notes of Poor Fellows comment that this song was collected by Cecil Sharp from Mr Gordge of Bridgwater (collected 2nd January 1906). This variant was published in Volume I of Sharp’s English Folk Songs presented there under the title ‘Lord Thomas of Winesberry’. The only variant I’ve found with the title ‘Tom the Barber’ is that collected by Hammond from W. Bartlett of Wimborne, Dorset in September 1906, and it appears that Tony Rose’s text draws on this variant. The most convincing explanation of the term ‘barber’ is that it is a corruption of ‘Berber’ referring to the people of North Africa. 

9 The Country Carrier 
Trad 

I first heard this on Nick Dow album My Love You’ve Won to Keep, then shortly after came across it in Frank Purslow’s book The Wanton Seed. Purslow had printed an amalgamation of text from William Randall of Hursley, Hampshire (collected June 1905) together with a tune Henry Norris of Farnham, Surrey (collected April 1909), both collected by George Gardiner. This is not, strictly speaking, a folksong, but instead was written by music hall entertainer Harry Clifton (1832-1872) as ‘My Rattling Mare and I’ in around 1867. Clifton was one of the most prolific Victorian song writers, allegedly writing over five hundred songs and touring constantly- it is often said that the reason for his early death was overwork. However, Clifton left a crop of brilliant songs, and this one in particular seems to have found favour with traditional singers across the country. 

10 Barbados/Jamaica 
Trad 

‘Barbados’ comes from The Compleat Country Dancing Master, printed by John Walsh, c. 1740, published under the title ‘The Barbadoes’. On first glances the tune seemed quite unusual and far too complex for the average melodeon player, so I altered the rhythms slightly to turn it into a 32 bar jig. It seemed the obvious conclusion to pair ‘Barbados’ with ‘Jamaica’ (printed as ‘Jameko’ in the 4th edition of Playford’s English Dancing Master, 1670) to create an excitingly exotic Caribbean themed tune set. I first learnt Jamaica for a production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivals in 2010, but when I came to put this set together I had long since lost the music, so had to follow my fingers and see what of the tune I could remember. A few months on I heard the original tune in the background of a BBC documentary and, much to my surprise, it wasn’t too dissimilar to my half remembered tune! 

11 Fireman’s Growl 
Trad 

Another song associated with Tony Rose, I first heard this sung by Tony on the LP Steam Ballads (which also features Harry Broadman, Kempion and Jon Raven). The album notes credit Karl Dallas’ One Hundred Songs of Toil as the source for this song. According to One Hundred Songs of Toil, the song had its origins in a set of anonymous verses published in written around the early twentieth century and published in the Railway Gazette. I believe it was Karl Dallas who set these verse to the widespread tune ‘Tramps and Hawkers’. I’ve always thought that this has one of the finest last verses of any song and it always seems to put a grin on the faces of my audiences, so I’ve chosen to close the album with it. 
Ripon Sword Dance Song
I first came across Ripon Sword Dance Song on the Yorkshire Garland Group website (http://www.yorkshirefolksong.net)
Andrew Rose
A song I’ve known for longer than I can remember through recordings made by Tony Hall and later Damien Barber and Mike Wilson. A few years ago I rediscovered this song in Roy Palmer’s Oxford Book of Sea Songs and was inspired to learn it. The song tells the true story of Andrew Rose
Sample not available
Trip to Birmingham/The Poll Booth/Tekeli
Three traditional jigs. ‘Trip to Birmingham’ is from John Walsh’s A Composite Music Volume published in 1748. The Poll Booth is in the tune books of Lawrence Leadley of Helperby
Thomas Holt
I came across the story on Thomas Holt in Roy Palmer’s The Folklore of Warwickshire. Thomas Holt was a musician from Coventry and father to nineteen children. Holt’s story was reported in a 1642 pamphlet entitled Fearefull Newes from Coventry
Sample not available
Edward
Child ballad number 13; a classic ballad with variants throughout Britain
Sample not available
Harrogate Quadrille/Newcastle Station
Two more traditional tunes. Like ‘The Poll Booth’
Babylon
This variant of the classic ballad (Child 14) comes from Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger’s Travellers’ Songs from England and Scotland. MacColl and Seeger collected it from John MacDonald
Sample not available
Tom the Barber
A variant of Child ballad 100
The Country Carrier
I first heard this on Nick Dow album My Love You’ve Won to Keep
Sample not available
Barbados/Jamaica
‘Barbados’ comes from The Compleat Country Dancing Master
Sample not available
Fireman’s Growl
Another song associated with Tony Rose

Folk in Wales

Mick Tems

If you happen to come across an impressive trio of young Worcester musicians who go by the name of Granny's Attic, I can highly recommend them for their serious reputation! I'll be really looking forward to my first encounter in Llantrisant Folk Club on Wednesday, May 16 next year to watch and hear guitarist George Sansome, fiddler and mandolinist Lewis Wood and passionate singer and exciting melodeon player Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, whose dexterity on the concertina is a total delight.

Outway Songster is Cohen's debut solo album, and the title comes from the 1893 edition of English County Songs; In the preface, Lucy Broadwood and J. A. Fuller Maitland describe outway songsters who �not only sang favourite songs (i.e. traditional songs and popular songs of the era) but also actually invented new ones themselves.� Cohen takes massive credit for taking on, interpreting and tinkering about with the traditional and self-composed material that are the lifeblood of his culture. Other artists record 'solo' albums, which really mean with the support of a battery of commendable musicians and friends; however, Cohen has struck out alone � just himself, his melodeon and concertina, just totally exposed to the elements and the recording studio.

There are those who would describe Cohen's forceful pastoral vocals as having a Marmite voice; you either love it or hate it. Other singers train their voices to be varied, soft or strong, light or dark, but Cohen just goes for broke and doesn't take prisoners � he uses his voice like a battering ram. He learned the album's first track, 'The Ripon Sword Dance Song', from the Yorkshire Garland website, an on-line archive of songs collected in or linked to Yorkshire, for a Christmas set. The song also appears in the 1930 issue of the Journal of the English Folk Dance Society in an article by Douglas Kennedy on sword dance and mummers' plays. Kennedy stated that the song was collected by Dr C. H. Moody of Ripon in 1925 and forms part of a sword-dance play performed in Ripon around Christmas � however, Cohen thought that the song was too good to only sing at the festive season; he rewrote it, leaving out all ritual song references to Christmas!

Cohen's notes on reshaping the traditional songs and tunes make absorbing reading; he first encountered the true tale of Orkney sailor 'Andrew Rose' � who suffered horrific treatment and ultimately died at the hands of his ship's crew, headed by Captain Henry Rogers � from East Anglian cartoonist and melodeon player Tony Hall and, later on, Damien Barber and Mike Wilson. Cohen expertly steers the melodeon through traditional jigs; 'Trip To Birmingham' comes from John Walsh's A Composite Music Volume, published in 1748; 'The Toll Booth' is from the tune books of North Yorkshireman Lawrence Leadley, a carpenter and architect by trade and the village band fiddler in the 1840s; and 'Tekeli', a Turkish adverb meaning 'goaty', is from the manuscripts of James Winder of Wyresdale, Lancashire, compiled around 1834-1842. Cohen says that he didn't realise how much he had unwittingly changed the tune, and he directs the original to the Village Music Project website.

Cohen's first composition is the re-working of the story of 'Thomas Holt', a musician from Coventry and father to 19 children. A 1642 pamphlet, entitled Fearefull Newes From Coventry, reported that to solve his financial problems, Holt sold himself to the devil and, once his contract had expired, he was found with his neck broken and his money turned to dust. 'Edward' comes from the Irish tradition bearer Paddy Tunney, while Cohen amply demonstrates his magnificent concertina playing in 'Harrogate Quadrille' and 'Newcastle Station'. The classic ballad 'Babylon' was collected by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger from Lanarkshire traveller John MacDonald in 1969; Cohen admits that, in learning it, he inadvertently altered the tune, gathered a few verses and lost some along the way � that's the tradition for you!

Cohen learned the ballad 'Tom The Barber' from the late lamented Tony Rose and his 1982 Poor Fellows album; Cecil Sharp collected it from Mr Gordge of Bridgwater, Somerset, in the winter of 1906. 'The Country Carrier' was collected by George Gardiner from two country singers, but music-hall entertainer Harry Clifton wrote it as 'My Rattling Mare And I' around 1867. Cohen shows his melodeon mastery in the two tunes 'Barbados' and 'Jamaica'; 'Barbados' comes from The Compleat Country Dancing Master, printed by John Walsh, c. 1740, published under the title 'The Barbadoes', and 'Jamaica' was printed as 'Jameko' in the 4th edition of Playford's English Dancing Master, 1670. He says in the notes: �I first learned this latter piece for a production of Sheridan's The Rivals in 2010, but when I came to put this set together I had long since lost the music, so had to follow my fingers and see what of the tune I could remember. A few months on, I heard the original tune in the background of a BBC documentary and, much to my surprise, it wasn't too dissimilar to my half-remembered tune!�

Cohen signs off with 'Fireman's Growl', which Tony Rose performed for the album Steam Ballads, a collection which credits Karl Dallas's book 100 Songs Of Toil. The song originates from the many anonymous verses which were published in The Railway Gazette in the early twentieth century, and Cohen believes that Dallas set the tune to the Scottish song 'Tramps And Hawkers'. It's an lovely, warm album and it's going to grow on you!

fRoots

Vic Smith

This is the best debut album by a young British performer who would sing and play songs and tunes garnered from the tradition for many a day. If Cohen Braithwaite- Kilcoyne continues to develop in the way shown here, and was previously apparent in his work with Granny's Attic, then he has the aptitude, skill and ability to rise to the top of British folk.

After all that there needs to be something to justify that opinion which is easy, because there is much to like and admire here. There is his instrumental skill on both melodeons and anglo-concertina. When he accompanies himself, he adds interest by what he plays without diverting attention from the development of the song. When he plays dance tunes, he has a neat punchy touch on his squeezeboxes and a fine rhythmic approach which makes him sound as though he is used to playing for dancing, which, of course he is. His concertina playing on two fine, neglected tunes, Harrogate Quadrille/Newcastle Station, shows a high level of technical mastery. The choice of songs shows careful thought, planning and a good deal of research way beyond the obvious and lesser-known versions of big ballads: Edward, Tom The Barber (a variant of Willie o' Winesbury) and Babylon stand out.

His singing is powerful, his diction is good and he varies his approach according to the needs of the song. The influence of other singers can be heard in places, but that can be said of many emerging singers. The odd vocal mannerism appears in places though only occasionally. A straightforward album with no studio tricks and no accompanying musicians: none needed!

The Living Tradition

David Kidman

The term �outway songster� was coined by Broadwood and Fuller Maitland in their 1893 publication, English Country Songs, to define singers who �not only sang favourite songs but also actually invented new ones themselves�, and Cohen ably illustrates this concept on his debut solo CD (he's previously recorded as a member of acclaimed trio, Granny's Attic, with George Sansome and Lewis Wood). He demonstrates considerable drawing-power as a captivating, bold and striking solo performer and an astounding musical maturity (unbelievably, he's still in his early 20s!) that's way more than just the overwhelming first impression of �old head on young shoulders� that he unavoidably gives. His finely skilled box playing (melodeon and anglo concertina) is both sensitively judged and engagingly rhythmic, while his sturdy singing voice appears effortlessly fully formed, in character both traditional and individual and with an enviable easy assurance and a marked consistency that nevertheless well avoids any potential charge of stylised mannerism.

Even at this early stage of his career, Cohen has already mastered the art of sympathetic self-accompaniment that remains at the service of the song yet while unobtrusive never degenerates into auto-pilot or routine. In this regard, he's learnt much from his teacher and mentor Pete Coe, while other clear role-models include long-established exponents of the art such as John Kirkpatrick, Steve Turner, Tony Rose and Brian Peters. His way with a major ballad such as Tom The Barber, for instance, is exemplary and forms a highlight of the album, as does his a cappella rendition of Edward, while his fleet-footed-yet-legs-apart dispatch of the disc's tune-sets fair invites the listener onto the dance floor (you can tell Cohen's in regular demand playing for dances!). The Kirkpatrick brand of charismatic ebullience is well in evidence on The Country Carrier and Thomas Holt (a variant of The Devil And The Feathery Wife), whereas his technical mastery of box dynamics is especially to the fore on the Barbados/Jamaica set and the nifty concertina showpiece set Harrogate Quadrille/Newcastle Station. And, entirely befitting the �outway songster� tag, Cohen's gift for reworking traditional sources is showcased on his re-composition of the Ripon Sword Dance Song.

Cohen's already rapidly eclipsed �name to watch� status (I could say he truly �outways� most of the competition!), and it's a tribute to his extraordinary talent and presence that he can carry the weight of a purely solo record without the listener feeling the need for any extra musicians or singers.

RnR mini article

Ian Croft

Still only twenty one, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne has been a hi-vis presence on the folk scene for several years, mainly as part of Granny's Attic. Now, he's developing a solo career to operate alongside the trio with an excellent CD, Outway Songster, and a seriously impressive stage presence, seen recently at Warwick Folk Festival which is where I caught up with him.

With a father from Rotherham, a Barbadian mother and a huge shock of hair, Cohen is not your archetypal performer on the folk scene, but he discounts this immediately. �It doesn't bother me at all,� he says. �It's a non-issue.� He started playing the violin age six, and �quite early on felt a liking for folk tunes. When I was about ten, I had my first ever gig playing scratchy folk tunes on a violin in a pub in Worcester. I also joined a young person's collective out in Herefordshire called Tunewrights, and learned a lot of tunes through that. My dad played the guitar, though he was more into punk rock, and I persuaded him to play a couple of folk tunes and we'd gig together. I was doing that until the Granny's started in 2009.�

By then he'd come across the concertina and melodeon that are now his main instruments. �I thought these are amazing. That Christmas my grandma got me a cheap concertina and I learned a few tunes on that, and I bought a melodeon the year after. I'm self-taught, for the most part,� though he did develop the skills on a music degree at Leeds University where he had the good fortune to have Pete Coe as his main tutor. �He's an amazing man � he helped me a lot with my melodeon playing and my singing, and where to find songs and tunes too. A great guy!�

Cohen's first 'proper' solo gig was when he was seventeen. �It was a gig that Granny's had been asked to do but couldn't make. I was asked to support John Kirkpatrick with three or four songs; he is one of my biggest heroes. It was the first time I'd really sung in public, apart from in Granny's. I only got serious about solo work at university, and didn't really start gigging until 2016.�

A CD followed quickly, recorded on WildGoose last Christmas. �I used songs I already had � I had enough songs that I like for two or three albums. About half are picked up from CDs or live performance, and the rest are from written sources � I really enjoy going through manuscripts. I made the album at the same time that I was doing my dissertation on folk song collector Lucy Broadwood. Part of that was just sifting through reams of what she and her colleagues had collected, and some songs came from that.� There are a couple of music hall songs involved. �I really like daft music hall songs, though a lot of them I wouldn't sing, it'd be too embarrassing.�

Earlier, I'd seen Cohen put on a fabulous show � very assured and full of exceptional singing and playing for one so young. One song from the CD, 'Tom The Barber', creates much amusement given the nature of his hair. Does this happen every time? �Oh yeah�, he says. He also performs a song 'Tom King The Highwayman' which he admits to me, but not the audience, that he'd written himself. �I've dabbled in writing my own songs, but don't like to make a thing about it. If I sneak it in there no-one knows.�

Cohen has lots of gigs arranged with Granny's Attic, but is getting a few of his own, so watch out for him � he's great.

RnR

Ian Croft

Debut albums by young performers often show promise; sometimes, as in this solo CD by Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, they go way beyond that. A member of Granny's Attic, Cohen shows a maturity in the singing and playing of traditional music that completely belies his age. The album is performed absolutely solo � no frills, no friends in to help � and is a real pleasure.

Cohen has a powerful, natural voice with slightly rustic undertones, and he's not afraid to sing out. He makes a great fist of the one unaccompanied song, 'Edward', even managing to evoke memories of a young Tony Rose. The songs are uniformly good. Two favourites are 'Andrew Rose', a horrific tale of abuse at sea to a wonderfully dramatic tune, and 'Country Carrier', a music hall song which reflects Cohen's wide range, thereby qualifying him as an 'outway songster'.

His melodeon and concertina playing are out of the top drawer, whether accompanying the singing or on the three traditional tune sets. He is also a keen student of traditional sources, who knows he is an ongoing part of the folk process by admitting in the sleeve notes that he's made unwitting changes to published material.

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne is heading for the top of the class!  



Stirrings

Mike Wild

I have been looking forward to hearing this CD since I heard Cohen playing as a member of Granny's Attic with his old schoolmates from schooldays at Worcester, George Sansome and Lewis Wood. This album reflects his current solo repertoire and some may have seen him at Royal Traditions at Dungworth. 'Outway songsters' were described by Lucy Broadwood in 1893 as singers who not only sang favourite songs of the era but also invented new ones themselves. This album fits that description.

His instruments are a Dino Baffetti/Oakwood Binci III melodeon in D/G, a small vintage Hohner Preciosa melodeon in A/D and a Jeffries 45 button anglo concertina in C/G, all these are played with great skill and feeling and used to great effect and he generously credits some excellent mentors and box fettlers. He took up the squeezeboxes in his teens and one can hear the influences of some great players. Recorded and produced by Doug Bailey, the sound quality is excellent and allows the full right and left side of the boxes and the voice to come across. This is a totally solo album and is quite a virtuoso performance. Again one can hear echoes of some great revival singers but his voice is his own and his West Midlands accent suits the songs , quite a few of which are from that area. He has researched his material well from recorded material and archives and the sleeve notes are very interesting. The mix of fine tune playing and interesting songs make this a very good debut solo album.

There is a good mix of songs and tunes, with songs being the majority of tracks.  Ripon Sword Dance Song, collected in 1925 and found on the Yorkshire Garland website is here reworked with additions from other calling on songs. With a robust accompaniment on melodeon in D it introduces the characters in the sword dance and play, usually performed round Christmas time. The song clears the way, conjures up the dramatis personae and invites the audience to accept that the local players have travelled many miles to perform in disguise and suspend their disbelief. It builds up the story in the same way that Bob Pegg's Rise Up Jock does.  Andrew Rose, known to many from the Free Reed LP of Tony Hall, is a true story of a sailor from Orkney who for some psychopathic reason was tortured by order of his captain who ultimately swung for the crime. The song which has a strong drone from the melodeon bass of box behind it appealed to British tars of the day.  Thomas Holt is a self penned song based on a tale from Roy Palmer's Folklore of Warwickshire. It is an 'Old Nick' song based on a story in 1642 pamphlet about a Coventry fiddler who sold himself to the devil but ended up with his neck broken and his money turned to dust. The tune derives from The Farmer's Curst Wife which works very well.

There are some great tunes sets from reprinted manuscript books from the sixteenth century onwards, TheTrip to Birmingham set of vigorous jigs starts with one  from John Walsh, 1748 and includes tunes from Lawrence Leadley of Helperby and James Winder of Wyresdale . Lovers of dance tunes from the era will be well pleased. It appears that Tekeli is a Turkish word for 'goaty'  but how it got to become the tune for The Wee Cooper of Fife eludes me. Barbados and Jamaica were learnt for a production of Sheridan's The Rivals.

They come from country dance tune books from the era when Britain was a slaving nation and engaged in the sugar trade. The gentry were dancing at home in assemblies to exotic tunes and jaunty figures paid for by the trade in human souls.

There are a number of big ballads,  Edward, from the singing of the great Paddy Tunney, is unaccompanied . Cohen  hits the notes cleanly with his excellent tenor baritone voice,  always a test of a singer on a solo CD. Babylon is the name of a Romany gypsy in the classic ballad which Ewan McColl and Peggy Seeger collected from a traveller, John MacDonald in Lanarkshire in 1969. Cohen has modified it and added and lost some words but it stands as a powerful tale of incest,  and murder with a 'little penknife',  which must have disturbed listeners with its everyday familiarity. The alienated young robber keeps trying to draw the young women to ' 'Veeairdio' a place that sounds strange ,a bit like when Bob Dylan sang of 'Funario' . It is a powerful ballad well sung with the dramatic intensity of ,say,  Brian Peters or Pete Coe. Tom the Barber is another ballad from the Child collections which is commonly known as Willie o' Winesbury. Cohen first got this from the late Tony Rose, a fine concertina player, off his 1982 LP Poor Fellows . The strong accompaniment of the key of C notes of concertina uses the full range of his 45 button box and makes it a dramatic tale. Tom tells Jane's noble father 'I would never have been your serving man if I didn't want your daughter, so keep your land'! Cohen's explanation of Tom's profession is that he is actually a Berber of North Africa, so it is a double triumph for the serving man.

The Country Carrier is a jolly romp from Frank Purslow's book The Wanton Seed.  It was written by Harry Clifton, a prolific songwriter who wrote over five hundred songs, in 1867 and collected by George Gardiner from southern country singers in the early 1900s and by then well entrenched. It appeals because the carrier and his old 'rattling mare'  have the freedom of the open road, Cohen heard it from Nick Dow who wrote the biographies of many the original singers for the recent book of Purslow's selection. The Fireman's Growl is another from the singing of Tony Rose off the LP Steam Ballads. It is a set of verses from the Railway Gazette set to the tune to Tramps and Hawkers, probaby by Karl Dallas who died recently.  The young lad is fed up of  his 60 hours for 30 bob a week and wonders if he'll still be firing for the drivers, the 'old lads when we are all down below; !

I found this debut solo album well worth playing over again and again and as a musician and singer well established quite young and with a maturing voice I believe Cohen will be a regular solo and band performer at  clubs and festivals for  many years to come.