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Mike Rudge of Mardles

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

What a delightful selection of songs performed in a "traditional" folk way! There are quite a few songs in this collection worth learning and singing at your local club (if you are that way inclined)!
Ron Taylor is a fine singer of folk song. What all the songs have in common on this album is that they are rooted firmly in the tradition. They are accompanied by Jeff's superb work on guitar, mandola and concertina and he is supported by several very talented musicians to help present the songs: Gill Redmond on cello; Becky Dellow on fiddle; Steve Tyler on hurdy gurdy; and Katy Marchant on recorder and bagpipes. For this collection, Ron and Jeff have revisited some songs they have been singing for many years but which have never previously been available on CD. They have also included a number of songs that they have been singing for quite a while, but have never previously recorded. Finally, they have added a few songs that are quite new to their repertoire.
I particularly like the variety of material they have put together on this album. The first track Long Peggin' Awl opens with the obligatory immortal folkie words of a man talking a walk on a May morning and meeting a fair maiden. The central metaphor here is really too obvious to be called double entendre, but the song is not particularly lewd or salacious.

Other tracks that caught my ear include Rosie Grey, a sort of modern farewell shanty written by Maddy Taylor, and Glenlogie, a Scots ballad which writer Shirley Collins anglicised and the wonderful tune is of her own making. The story involves no deaths, no violence and no illicit sexual relationships. What it does feature is the rather successful use of emotional blackmail.
Ron has been singing folk songs since the late 1960s. He first sang semi professionally with The Songwainers, the Cheltenhambased vocal harmony group. He then branched out as a solo performer, before teaming up for more vocal harmony with Regal Slip. When he and Jeff began performing together, it was something of a departure, in that most of Ron's previous work had been unaccompanied.

Jeff's background has been more diverse. As well as being a solo performer, for over
twenty years Jeff has played in concerts and ceilidhs around the Gloucestershire area. Jeff is also a composer beyond the folk idiom, and has recently set all of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience to music.

The album can be readily purchased on the net including iTunes and Amazon. Also, a quick search on You Tube reveals a few clips of the duo performing, including a track off the album, "Flash Lad". If you have not heard them before, take a look to get a flavour of their style and talent.
February 2014