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Alison Frosdick of Folk London

reviews Just Another Day by Tom and Barbara Brown

Tom and Barbara Brown are stalwarts of the traditional folk music scene and, in particular, collectors and performers of songs from the West Country. Their latest CD, Just Another Day, is a collection of songs with the unifying factor of being connected to the Somerset town of Minehead.

During research for the Short Sharp Shanties project, Tom and Barbara came across 39 songs collected by Cecil Sharp from Cpt Lewis, (26), and Cpt Vickery, (13). From these they have selected some of their favourites for this, their sixth CD.
The three other songs, starting with A Minehead Lad were written especially for the Minehead Harbour Heritage Project. This particular song covers the life of the town and the requisitioning of the paddle steamers by the Royal Navy during the Edwardian and World War I period. A version of Heave Away My Johnny with words by Tom, draws on information about the town's ships and trade during the 19th century had me joining in with the lusty harmonies provided by a number of supporting musicians and long time friends, Keith Kendrick, Paul Sartin, Anahata, Barry Lister and Brenda Burnside, to name but a few! The third original song, Just Another Day, takes the iconic WW2 tune used for the poem Lili Marlene and draws on Minehead stories from the same period both ridiculous and tragic. To find out more about this particular project, check out Tom and Barbara's website.

Most of the songs on this fine CD contain political or social commentary to varying degrees. The Sea Captain is a lovely 'tongue in cheek' romp involving 4 women and men from different social stations with the same smile inducing twist for each of them at the end of the song. The Isle of France, beautifully sung by Barbara to a haunting tune, tells of convict transportation although, according to the sleeve notes, which are very informative by the way, has no basis in fact.
The majority of the songs do, however, encourage singing along and I suggest you do ...heartily!