Ian Croft of RnR
reviews Echoes of Alfred by Bob and Gill BerryStalwarts of the Wiltshire folk scene, Bob and Gill Berry have come up with their first album sinc 2006. Echoes Of Alfred consists mainly of songs collected in the area under a title that nods towards Alfred Williams who played a crucial role in preserving traditional song from the Upper Thames.
Bob and Gill wrote many of the tunes themselves, and others come from Bob's late mother, Barbara. They fit the material well, and are helped along by fine singing and playing, with spritely accompaniment particularly from Lewis Cook (Granny's Attic) on fiddle, mandolin and piano, and solid vocal support on several unaccompanied songs.
Included here are songs like 'My Jolly Waggoner Drive On' and 'Sprig Of Thyme' given a slight twist from better known versions, alongside less familiar material like 'No Followers', and 'Sarah Gale', about the real life murder of Hannah Brown in 1837.
'Through The Groves' is a version of the Holmfirth Anthem which may have pre dated that iconic Yorkshire song, and 'Salisbury Plain' puts a slightly different tune to what the Dransfields called 'Rout Of The Blues'. 'Out With My Dog In The Morning' longs for a simpler life, wrapping up this excellent album of English traditional song.