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Fiona Heywood of The Living Tradition

reviews Just Another Day by Tom and Barbara Brown

Tom and Barbara Brown are no strangers to the folk scene in England and beyond. Having already released five albums on the WIldGoose label, this recording only goes to strengthen their reputation as one of the best traditional song duos around.

They have a passion for the traditional songs of the West Country. The last few years have seen them work with WildGoose to create the Short Sharp Shanties series, which recorded the songs of Watchet shantyman, John Short. Tom has since published a biography of John Short which accompanies and augments the CDs. Now, their latest album sees them record 15 songs collected by Sharp from to sea captains in Minehead (James Vickery and Robert Lewis) along with three of their own songs about the area written as part of the Minehead Harbour Projext.

Many of the songs here are familiar, but often the versions are slightly different, making for an intriguing listen. Tom and Barbara’s trademark strong voices and effortless harmony singing combine easily with tasteful but restrained accompaniment from a group of very talented friends. The friends also join them on some great choruses and refrains. Although Tom and Barbara have opted to record this as a studio album rather than trying to re-create the feel of a live performance, you can hear how these songs will fit perfectly into their live set.

This is folk music at its best – great songs, solid singing, well-informed singers with good stories to tell.