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Brian Cope of Folk London

reviews Where Umber Flows by Tom & Barbara Brown

When one considers the speed with which artists put out Cds these days it’s a little surprising that this duo have only just produced their first CD and have not got a back catalogue of vinyl waiting in the wings. However, as one might expect from an album that has been thirty something years in the making, the craftsmanship and quality shine through.  In performance, Tom and Barbara set out to entertain with material firmly rooted in the tradition, and succeed in making their music accessible to a wide-ranging audience, through their infectious enthusiasm and love of the songs they sing., and this quality has successfully been captured on their recording.  The content is varied and consists of two instrumentals, five unaccompanied and seven accompanied songs many of which unsurprisingly have a West Country pedigree.  The singing is pleasantly powerful and Tom’s accompaniment complementary but unobtrusive.  I particularly like the quitar Tom puts beneath Barbara’s super rendition of ‘Jordan’
- spine tingling stuff.  I also really enjoyed Barbara’s version of ‘The Green Cockade’ and their arrangment of Bob Cann’s song ‘Craftsmen of the Moor’, not to mention the rousing revival of ‘Norton New Bell Wake’ from a time when the duo worked as ‘Regalia’ with Charley Yarwood who they persuaded out of retirement to join them on this track.  All in all a commendable showcase long overdue.