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David Kidman of fRoots

reviews Well Seasoned by Keith Kendrick

Founder member of The Druids and the Rams Bottom Band and erstwhile member of Muckram Wakes, Keith has in more recent years concentrated on duo work with Lynne Heraud and maritime repertoire with Three Sheets To The Wind, but its good to see that hes found time to record a new solo release (only his third) to showcase his consummate talents as both singer and concertina player. Well Seasoned presents a programme of songs and (just a few) tunes which together reflect the turning of the seasons and the passing of the ritual calendar, ostensibly inspired by The Calendar Tour which Keith and Jo Freya had taken round the folk clubs and festivals during 1998/ 99, but not completely adhering to an accepted or readily identifiable calendarial sequence.
The songs, many of which have a connection with Keiths native Derbyshire, form an enticing mix, largely traditional in origin (and as a bonus several of these are set to superb tunes of Keiths own making). Theres a few wassail songs and carols (including one from the Sheffield tradition), a ballad (The Grey Cock) and two choices from the Copper Family Songbook. The relatively few contributions from the pantheon of modern songwriters provide highlights, and include the (still surprisingly under?sung) calling?on song Bring im On (from the pen of John Tams) and Graeme Miless spectral Scarecrow (like Keith, Ive been haunted for years by Teessider Robin Dales stark and truly matchless performances of this song).
A handful of the songs are performed unaccompanied, but this poses no problem for the listener since Keiths in excellent voice and hes enlisted a mouthwatering gallery of backing singers thats a real whos who if ever I saw one (Graeme Knights, Johnny Collins, Mick Ryan, Mike Nicholson, Lynne H, Pat Turner, Mary Humphreys amongst others) and musicians (including Ralph Jordan, Keith Holloway and Anahata). Although the emphasis is firmly on the squeezebox family for instrumental accompaniment, youre unlikely to feel starved