Barry Goodman of Shire Folk
reviews Time to Rise by CrowsCrows were originally an amalgamation of two popular duos of the 1970s and 80s British folk scene Silas (James Patterson and Ralph Jordan) and Mick Ryan and Jon Burge. The line up had some changes during its lifetime, with Dave Bordewey replacing Jon Burge in 1981, and Ralph Jordan making way for Jim Younger in 1983, while Steve Faux joined the band in the mid 1980s. This CD celebrates the band's output with tracks taken from the masters of their two albums, together with eight songs recorded for radio broadcast, but never released.
What is immediately evident is the sheer quality of the singing and instrumental work throughout the 16 tracks on this excellent compilation. The whole was certainly greater than the sum of its parts in all the line ups, and it's great to hear the wonderful voices of Mick Ryan and James Patterson in this repertoire again, with the immaculate musicianship of Ralph, Dave, Jim and Steve enhancing the sound.
There is a wide variety of material, some traditional, some by Mick and James, others from Sandy Denny, Laura Nero and JS Bach! One of Mick's songs, The Antelope', is still sung regularly in the folk opera 'A Day's Work', and one of my favourite tracks is 'Sidmouth Days' by Mick and James. Ralph's wonderful arrangement of 'Gavotte en Rondeau' is also a stand out, while 'Moreton Bay' demonstrates what a splendid a capella group Crows could be.
Produced by Doug Bailey at WildGoose Records and dedicated to the late Ralph Jordan, this CD is, in Doug's words, 'an unashamed trip down memory lane', and a wonderful treat it certainly is to hear Crows once more.