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Jerry Bix of Whats Afoot

reviews Wight Cockade by The Dollymopps

The Dollymopps are Justin Smith, Dorana Philpott and Virgil Philpott and all three sing in harmony on all except two tracks. I found the Dollymopps really refreshing, the harmonies are great, there's loads going on if you concentrate and really listen but for me the joy of their performance is the songs. Unlike many harmony groups they never compromise the song with the harmonies, the song comes first and their delivery of the songs is delightful; the harmonies adding interest, strength and colour to the performances while preserving the life and vitality of the songs.

As the name of the CD suggests The Dollymopps are bringing to life songs and poems from the Isle of Wight, resulting in the rare privilege of a CD of traditional material where every single song will be fresh and new to most of us on the mainland. All but two of the tracks are sung in harmony, the exceptions being a tune "The Loyal Isle of Wight Volunteers' Quick March" superbly played on guitar by Virgil and "Jonas and the Devil", where a single voice is enhanced by guitar accompaniment.

Among the traditional songs are two poems from Percy Stone's collection with tunes written by the group "The Recruiting Sergeant" and "Newtown Randy." I particularly enjoyed these songs and would never have known that the tunes were not traditional, the tunes fit the poems with the ease that usually only comes from a few hundred years of singing. Sources for the traditional songs include a number from the George Gardiner collection, among them the familiar yet intriguingly different "From Spithead Roads" and the beautiful "Gypsy Girl."

I have never seen The Dollymopps perform in concert but, after listening to this CD, if I see their name on a festival programme I will do my best to listen to them. Different, intriguing and very well sung, all in all a lovely CD.