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Robb Johnson of Buzz

reviews Tanks for the Memory by Fieldwork

This is the story in song and spoken?word of Tyneham, a Dorset village appropriated by the army during World War 11 and never returned to its inhabitants. It also attempts to address the question of what being English means. Writer Ryans definition is a greatness of humour and heart, tolerance, courtesy.
The work is scornful of military/political authorities and mentalities, and presents an affectionate, moving portrait of ordinary Dorset lives. The tone ranges from humorous to outraged; Country Gardens is a particularly effective blend of both.
The quality of both Ryans writing and Fieldworks performance is excellent throughout, though theres a tendency to repeat choruses, good for folk clubs that like Singing Along but less successful on CD.
The album notes conclude with a complaint about indigenous culture being replaced by an ersatz theme park England. Indeed; but whether an album reliant on revivalist traditional forms ? its significant the way one spoken word piece is subtitled (Rap!) ? can avoid becoming another piece of Heritage, is a matter for consideration outside the limits of a 200?word review. Anybody fancy an interview? Meanwhile, buy the CD!