Mick Bramich of The Folk Mag
reviews Tide of Change by Tom & Barbara BrownThe latest offering from Tom and Barbara Brown, those traditional club favourites, was full of surprises for me. A mix of old and new songs and a set of tunes produces something for everyone, whatever their particular tastes. I did find the performance of the traditional songs more in my own style of listening and Barbara's lovely version of Barbara Allen was no exception being delivered with power and by a handsome tune.
Tom, not to be left out on the good old songs comes up with a fistful of delights both as lead and in harmony with Barbara: Bridgwater Fair, Bread and Cheese and Cider, and The Song of the Flail are striking examples. Of the modern songs, a firm favourite of mine is Bampton Fair by Paul Wilson. It is a strident fair day song following on admirably in a long tradition of such rural offerings. The dialect pieces of Jan Stewer always raise the spirits with their inbuilt humorous references to country life as When Mother and Me Joined In illustrates. Modern is perhaps not the right word for this particular 19th. century piece!
The rest of the package is also very listenable and a touch of present day rural politics is clearly expressed in Tide of Change, written by Hilary Bix who also produced the artwork for this beautifully packaged collection.
If you are a fan of the big sing, then you will not find fault in this CD and I hope that it brings Tom and Barbara the recognition that it deserves from the folk club and festival audiences of Britain.