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Steve Winick of Dirty Linen

reviews Tanks for the Memory by Fieldwork

The story of Tyneham told in song; may not ring any bells for nonEnglish audiences. Indeed, even most English people are probably unaware of the tale of the Dorset town. In 1943, the idyllic village in southern England was commandeered by the military for army training. The inhabitants were summarily evicted with a months notice to clear out of their
homes. Despite their initial assurances that this was a temporary measure, the War Department never left, and despite the townspeoples decadeslong fight to return to their homes, involving lawsuits and appeals to Parliament, the army has held on to Tyneham like a terrier holds onto a trouser leg. The Tyneham story became the basis of a musical written by Ryan and produced by the Fieldwork Theatre Company. A mixture of songs, poems, and prose readings, Tanks for the Memory highlights Ryans writing as well as his singing. As usual, both are sharp and sweet. Tanks for the Memory has perhaps a more specialized appeal than The Long Road, but those who like the folk opera concept would do well to investigate this excellent album.