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Peter Stevenson of TMM

reviews Prevailing Winds by Tom & Barbara Brown

A sweep through the musical traditions of the West Country and beyond, songs largely traditional, some accompanied, some unaccompanied, what more do you want to know?

Well, I could be wrong but I fancy that Tom and Barbara Brown are not exactly household names, although this duos association with folk music and each other dates back to the late 60s and through to the 70s when they were active figures on the folk scene. While the diversions and pressures of life may have temporarily deflected them from their chosen path in more recent years, they are now firmly back on course with this their second recording for Wild Goose and are hoping to bring the traditional songs of their home area to wider attention
Prevailing Winds is a rich collection of varied songs, and given their regional origins, most were new to this London layabout. However, Tom and Barbara are so at home within the medium, that even the unfamiliar sounded reassuringly familiar. Both partners sing, sometimes alone, sometimes together, while a backing of guitar, mandola or concertina, as well as a smattering of guests, ensures a presentational variety, which is continued right through and into the songs themselves. Consequently, Tom and Barbara offer up songs full of tragedy, songs of social history, of naval tradition and lost love, with occasional interjections of humour to lighten the load.

In essence, the fifteen songs which comprise the CD are the epitome of the folk club tradition ?a thoroughly enjoyable collection of warm songs which you might even find yourself joining in with.