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Dai Woosnam of Dai Woosnam

reviews Well Seasoned by Keith Kendrick

Keith hails from Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England, and has been around the UK folk scene for several decades now. To say he has “been around” is rather damning with faint praise: for the truth is he is something of a singer’s singer. But, in another sense the “been around” phrase is wholly apposite: for the fact is that he has never quite achieved the Carthy/Garbutt/Gaughan stardom he deserves…despite various incarnations and pairings.

And here we have something of a “This Is Your Life” album: he is joined by some celebrated ex-colleagues. They are mostly stalwarts of the British folk scene, and some splendid ensemble singing ensures that just about every chorus catches fire!

The liner notes  in keeping with the high standards set in this department by WildGoose Records  more than pass muster, but I could have done with initials of who exactly is singing on each track…instead of just the overall list of personnel. That said though, admittedly I could usually tell. However, for a non-Brit buying this album a continent or two away, it would probably be a puzzle.

The voice is as English and as sturdy as a five-bar gate. Had Hitler crossed the great North Sea in 1940, we would not have needed any marching songs to repel him: it strikes me that the Keith Kendrick solo voice - so redolent of the BACKBONE of old Albion - booming out from Dover Castle would have been enough to make Mr. Schicklgruber think twice!

But it is not all FORTISSIMO. Kendrick is capable of tenderness and surprising lightness of touch: a really intelligent and insightful approach to the lyric of the traditional “The Grey Cock and the Lover’s Ghost” is proof of such.

His talents also run to composition: the tune he has written to the traditional words of “Derwent May Carol” seems inventive and non-derivative. And his concertina playing is exemplary: as someone who struggled in vain with the instrument for the best part of a year, there is nothing I enjoy more than some fine co