Chris (Yorkie) Bartram of Shreds and Patches
reviews Another Round by Roy Clinging & Neil BrookesYet another excellent CD from the WildGoose Studios. Doug Bailey really knows how to record and present acoustic instruments and voices. He has recorded many of the finest folk singers in the country?and here is more proof.
Roy Clinging and Neil Brookes are not as well?known as they deserve but, for those of us who have had the pleasure of hearing them play, they are very highly regarded. Roys extensive researches into traditional songs have produced a great many songs from his native county, Cheshire, but also from the wider English tradition. This collection starts with a splendid version of the Cheshire May Song (which, they point out in the very informative sleeve notes, was traditionally sung in April ? heralding the approach of May, rather than celebrating its arrival). There are elements of several tunes mixed into this Cheshire original, including the one that most of us might call The Lincolnshire Poacher:
The effect is a delightful mix of familiarity and originality. This track is currently top of my personal play?list. However, a close second is track 5, Bold Lovell ? another song that reminds me of several others and yet is clearly a firmly rooted original. Indeed, I could say something similar for many of these tracks ? even those that I have heard sung by other people have some elements of true originality while remaining reassuringly `traditional. Andrew Rose for example, sets the usual story of cruel treatment of that unfortunate sailor to a different tune from any other version I have heard.
There are a few tune sets alongside the songs which show off the tremendous instrumental skills of both players. Roy plays English concertinas and guitar, while Neil plays fiddle and octave fiddle. Im not sure what one of those is but I see its made by Tim Phillips ? so he probably made up the name. Anyway, it sounds fantastic (As we have come to expect from one of the top fiddlemakers in the country.) A particular favourite among the instrumentals is a set of two jigs from Sussex called French Dance and The Ball. They are absolutely terrific. The songs, too, clearly benefit from those instrumental skills ?just listen to the superb fiddle?playing on Bold Lovell, for example ? or the `orchestral sounds of combined concertina and fiddle between the verses of Sights of London (Im almost certain only two of them are playing but its such a full sound ...) which is followed by a great version of Shropshire Lass.
Look at the WildGoose website for a full track?list and watch out for Roy and Neil during the Festival season. Very highly recommended.