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Giff of Folk Northwest

reviews Shine On by Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham

This is the second album from Keith and Sylvia that I've had the pleasure to review and a pleasure it has been from start to finish. Their concertina playing and close harmony singing is very complimentary and a joy to listen to. Their choice of traditional and contemporary material is also comprehensive with many of the songs themed around Christmas. There lies the pity that this album wasn't released before the festive season!

There are half-a-dozen tunes all of which are up tempo and jolly and illustrate perfectly Keith and Sylvia's skills at concertina playing. Pierce Butler adds some syncopated percussion which gives an overall effect that reminds me of the old days with the Umps & Dumps Band (remember them?). Great stuff.

The songs are equally dealt with in fine style. There are some old favourites like Sydney Carter's 'Silver in the Stubble' and 'Standing in the Rain' and Roger Watson's 'Gilliver' and also his hilarious 'The Christmas Hare' which, actually, I'd not heard before. However, of the better known songs, one stands head and shoulders above anything else on the album; this is Keith's solo rendition of 'The Old Ships Rolling Home'. He takes it at a slower pace than is normally done and as a result his tonality, phrasing and clarity of the words is absolutely perfect. It is a fitting tribute to Keith's 50 years experience in the folk world and I defy anyone to find a better performance of this song anywhere. Superb!

Other songs that took my fancy were the two written by Linda Woodruff who is a resident at the folk club in Derby that Keith and Sylvia help to run with Paul Slater. One is called 'The Finest Captain on the Sea' and the other is 'Father Christmas' both of which are amusing and definitely tongue-in-cheek. The album ends with a competent rendition of John Conolly and Bill Meek's 'I Am Christmas'. Like I said, it's unfortunate that the album couldn't be released before Christmas past especially as the sleeve note for the latter song ends with Keith writing 'Merry Christmas everybody, from us both'.

Ah well, it'll keep until next Christmas I suppose!! This album is available at Keith and Sylvia's many gigs countrywide and from Wild Goose via their web site. No KK fan should be without it.