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Vic Smith of Vic Smith for Around Kent Folk

reviews Echoes of Alfred by Bob and Gill Berry

The EFDSS 75th Anniversary Award and the Exceptional Community service award from the Chippenham Town Council and The Wiltshire Council recognise the long ongoing contribution that the Berrys have made to folk life in and around Wiltshire but their decades-long commitment to organisation, encouragement and facilitation is only one aspect of their input into regional folk life; they are also very engaging performers as this second album on the Wildgoose label shows.

The "Alfred" of the title refers to the famed song collector of the Upper Thames region, Alfred Williams who is the source of the majority of the songs here. The fact that Williams collected only the song words has its disadvantages but its advantages as well for this enables the lyrics to be set to other traditional melodies or to tunes composed by Bob, Gill and by Bob's mother Barbara. Singing the some times slightly different words of familiar songs from this source and hearing them sung to different tunes brings a clear novelty to the songs and avoids any feeling of hackneyed treatment.

They are supported at times by long-term associates in their group, Tinkers Bag and a multi-instrumental contribution from Lewis Wood of Granny's Attic as well as the luscious cello playing of Gill Redmond.