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Kath Deighton of Folk Monthly

reviews Wight Cockade by The Dollymopps

The Dollymopps are a trio who sing harmonies, mainly unaccompanied, of material collected in and with connections to the Isle of Wight. They are Virgil and Dorana Philpott and Justin Smith and they have been singing together since 2005. "Wight Cockade" is their second CD, their first being "Long Songs"; which was released in 2011.

My first reaction when listening to The Dollymopps was that the sound reminded me of the early work of Tim Hart and Maddy Prior. The sound is clear and almost chatty in its style. You can imagine broadside sellers imparting the latest news to groups on the street. The majority of the material is traditional and the historical detail on the sleeve notes is impressive and very well researched. The trio are not, however, frightened of adding their own influence and additions. The Recruiting Sergeant and Newtown Randy are both poems from Percy Goddard Stone's dialect collection, to which The Dollymopps have added their own tunes and, in the latter case, chorus. Lost Lady Found was collected in Ryde by Lucy Broadwood, whose younger sister was married to the Rector of Ryde. There is also Lucy Broadwood's influence in All Jolly Fellows, here using a Hampshire tune and words published in her "English County Songs" from 1893.

Virgil Philpott plays guitar on just two of the tracks, the first being an instrumental called The Loyal Isle of Wight Volunteers' Quick March. The second is a lovely song called Jonas and the Devil, taken from an album recorded in 1982 by East Anglian singer Bob Roberts and apparently learned from his grandfather.

The harmonies from The Dollymopps are complex and well worked out. The words are always clear, which is imperative with story songs such as these. A lot of time and effort has gone into researching the history of the songs. I do, however, think that a greater variety of sound, with perhaps more guitar accompaniment, would have benefited the overall experience. The CD is one for those who love folk music in its purest and simplest form.

April 2014