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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews Just Another Day by Tom and Barbara Brown

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!