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Baz Parkes of EFDSS

reviews Songs from the Past Into the Future by Derek Gifford

It’s easy to forget that, in these days of psych-folk, nu-folk, alt-folk and no-folk, there exists a hard core of singers and musicians who are perfectly happy to sing songs, play tunes or perhaps combine the two in a simple, unadorned and effective manner. Just such a one is Derek Gifford.

This CD features a mixture of traditional and newly-penned songs, both accompanied and a cappella. Of the former, representing Trad. Arr., we have fine versions of ‘Dives and Lazarus’ and ‘Bold Fisherman’, the latter featuring a lovely cello accompaniment from Gill Redmond. Of the newly (newness of course, being relative) penned, Pete Coe’s ‘Farewell to the Brine’, featuring Derek on bowed psaltery is a high point. Not far behind is Mike Bartram’s ‘Songs They Used to Sing’ which, as Derek writes ‘says it all in terms of what we’re about in the chorus singing folk world’. In these days of gastro pubs and micro-breweries, Miles Wootton’s ‘Early One Evening’ is undoubtedly less relevant than it once was, but it’s still capable of raising a wry smile.

Mr Gifford is ably supported by some well-known voices, including Keith Kendrick, Tom and Barbara Brown and Doug Bailey, all heard to particularly fine effect on Les Sullivan’s ‘Five Pounds’. Mr Kendrick also adds some nifty concertina to ‘Nantucket Sleighride’. Add to the mix occasional oboe and violin from Paul Sartin, and this is a very pleasant listen indeed.