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Colin Andrews of Whats Afoot

reviews Time to Rise by Crows

The quartet Crows enjoyed a high level of popularity in the late 1970s and 1980s for their rousing four part harmonies and well arranged accompaniments. Mick Ryan and James Patterson were with the line up throughout, but original members, Ralph Jordan and Jon Burge, moved on to play with other groups, and were replaced at various times by Dave Bordewey, Jim Younger and Steve Faux. The group enjoyed a brief reunion in 2014 to perform at Sidmouth in a memorial concert for Ralph.

The album includes tracks from their two vinyls released in 1981 and 1986, together with 8 unreleased tracks that were recorded for radio broadcasts. The result is a nostalgic trip down memory lane for everyone who appreciated their vibrant singing over their ten years of performing, and an unexpected gem for those who have come to enjoy the folk scene more recently.

Mick has, of course, since established a solid reputation as a songwriter and composer of 'folk operas' but some of his early songs are featured on this CD The Antelope, and the title song, Time To Rise. Although there are a couple of other contemporary songs, the album overall has a traditional song feel to it, from the opening numbers, Bold Wolfe and Coast of Peru, to Napoleon's Farewell to Paris and Two Magicians, among others. I was quite expecting When This Old Hat Was New (a song I've never quite got round to learning) to be given the full vocal harmony treatment, but was surprised, pleasantly, to hear a superb solo rendering from James, to a gentle and sympathetic accompaniment by Ralph and Dave. The harmonies really go to town, however, on the southern methodist hymn, Northfields. Wonderful!

Congratulations to WildGoose for giving this superb material a new lease of life.