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Steve Winick of Dirty Linen

reviews Prevailing Winds by Tom & Barbara Brown

Tom and Barbara Brown have been singing West Country songs for donkeys years. Their latest album, Prevailing Winds, brings to bear all their experience in selecting and arranging some of the regions best and most interesting songs. Apocryphal lyrics like The Bitter Withy, in which the child Jesus through negligence drowns three young lords and then gets a beating from Mary, were rarely collected but make great performance pieces, and Toms rich voice and concertina do an unusually satisfying and singable version. Barbara does a similarly round?voiced rendition of The Tithe Pig, the tale of a parson demanding a pig from a farmer, and the hilarity that ensues. Purely local songs like Egloshayle Ringers and Devon and Somerset Staghounds rub shoulders with widespread ballads like The Young Girl Cut Down in her Prime and Pleasant and Delightful. A few songs, like Down in the Diving Bell and Soap, Starch and Candles smack of the music hall, while a couple of others are frankly modern songs by local composers. With a few friends to add harmonies and instrumental accompaniments, the Browns handle it all with style, producing a simple but delightful folk album.