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reviews Prevailing Winds by Tom & Barbara Brown

Music preferences are very much a personal thing, and folk music no less so. I had received this CD for review but it was still in its shrink wrap when a friend mentioned that they thought Prevailing Winds was very ordinary and uninspiring. Having got round ? eventually ? to listening to it I beg to differ. The album is every bit as good as their first one, with a well researehed and well?presented selection of material, some familiar ? even the very familiar Pleasant and Delightful, so popular in the West Country ? and some less so. Tom & Barbara have that rare knack of creating a folk club atmosphere on disc without a live audience recording.

Although the first track, Coming In Song, written by Barrie Temple, is contemporary, it sets a jovial scene for the feast of predominantly traditional songs on the rest of the album, many of which have strong West?Country connections. A Cottage Well Thatched With Straw comes from the singing of of Mrs Foxworthy, and the Cornish connection continues with a version of the Egloshayle Ringers from Charlie Bate of Padstow, who was also the source for some of the delightful Down in The Diving Bell. Exmoor is represented in The Devon & Somerset Staghounds, a starker version of the jolly tune used in the Exmoor Hunt, and in the epic ballad, written by Rachel Jeffs, of the Louisa, Lynmouths lifeboat, hauled across the Moor to Porlock when onshore storms prevented its launch, in January 1899, from its home port to come to the aid of a ship in the Bristol Channel. Space precludes mentioning other great tracks, though Nancy Myles, another modern song well sung by Barbara, is one I mean to learn. Nothing is ordinary or dull about this CD.