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Kathy & Bob Drage of Around Kent Folk

reviews A Day's Work by The cast of A Day's Work

This revival of A Days Work shows Mick's mastery of lyrics, music and the spoken word. The show and cd is about the move by a group of farm workers from the land to the Western Front in the Great War. One worker is a conscientious objector and is shot for his beliefs. Opening in an English village, Xmas 1914 with Mick, Pete Morton and Paul Downs reciting the poem 'It's All in a Days Work', 'Flanders Tommy' has the boys marching off full of hope. 'Sons of the Land' represents the life of many left behind to do a days work in different fields. The complex attitudes some had about war but sharing the love of home is told in 'The Land I Love'. Singing 'Summer Is a Coming in Again' reminds our boys of being members of the same mummer's team. 'The Call' is a brief dialogue between a vicar and a conchie much debate about the Christian idea of a just war. The solo vocal by Greg Russell in 'Peace' shows the determination of the objector in his prison cell. 'The Long Farewell' sung by Mick as the objector's father and the late Maggie Boyle as the recruit's mother is extremely poignant. Part 2 takes place mostly at the Front in 1916; 'Flanders Tommy Part 2' contrasts the reality of war with the expectations of 1914. Many a man prayed for a wound that sent him home in 'Gimme A Blighty'. 'The Lark Above the Downs' is sung by one deemed to be a coward and awaiting execution and is an expression of love of homeland and of hope. Cicely Fox Smith's 'Home Lads Home' has been adapted to suit this tale and there is a bonus track not included in the show @Christmas In No man's land'. The show takes us from Xmas in the village of 1914 to the first day of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The song about the Christmas truce is offered as a sort of free standing emotional coda. All taking part Mick Ryan, Paul Downes, Maggie Boyle, Matt Quinn, Heather Bradford, Pete Morton and Greg Russell are wonderfully strong singers and musicians who give their all to this project. Mick has the propensity to write songs that really convey the messages contained; this is another excellent piece of work.