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Robbie Thomas of EFDSS

reviews Buy it, Try it (and never repent you) by Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett

The new approaches to traditional folk music and song being wrought these days by the younger generations, who are the latest inheritors of the traditions of these sceptred isles, can in no way diminish what has gone before. Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett both have long and distinguished musical careers, both individually and collectively. Ron Taylor has a long-held reputation as one of the finest traditional singers around and Jeff Gillett is a highly regarded accompanist and composer. The duo have been together for some twenty years and the sense of integration of voice and instruments on this, their second CD on Doug Bailey’s WildGoose Records label, lies at the core of their music.

On Buy it, Try it… the duo revisit songs that have never previously been available on CD, despite having been in their repertoire for many the year. If, like me, you’ve been around revival singers over the last fifty years or so then you’ll find little here that you haven’t heard before, although Maddy Taylor’s ‘Rosie Grey’ and ‘Glenlogie’ (sung to a tune by Shirley Collins) may well surprise you, as they did me. The arrangements that accompany Ron’s singing – ably augmented in places by Gill Redmond on cello, Becky Dellow on fiddle, Steve Tyler on hurdy gurdy, and Katy Marchant on recorders and bagpipes – sit well with all the songs and give Ron a superb platform on which to display his vocal talents and interpretative skills.

While youth can bring vigour and reimagining to the tradition, age can bring both experience and emotion to bear. On this CD, Ron and Jeff have brought out (under the watchful ears of Doug Bailey) a CD that not only showcases their undoubted technical and performance skills but that also honours the words and melodies of the songs themselves. Go on, buy it and try it.