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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews A Gower Garland by Calennig

To those of you who regularly attend Lancaster and other maritime festivals Calennig, who are Mick Terns and Pat Smith, will be familiar to you. They are the full?of?life couple who jolly along their audiences with lively sea songs and tunes. This CD includes some material which is sometimes included in their maritime sets but more by coincidence than intention because this album has been produced to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Phil Tanner the `Gower Nightingale. Phil Tanner is probably one of the best known of the `old traditional Welsh singers who had a fine voice and a wide repertoire of songs. Mick and Pat have been researching traditional material frorn Wales for over 20 years (theyre older than they look!) and the songs and tunes in this album are from the lovely Gower Peninsula of that picturesque principality. The songs and tunes are from the repertoires of several singers including , of course, some from Phil Tanner and are sung and played with the sort of professionalism that youd expect from two seasoned performers. There are several tracks here that I particularly like including the Phil Tanner version of `The Dark Eyed Sailor and `Poor Old Horse from the singing of Marjory Bowden of the Bowden family from Mumbles the latter of which is very different from the more well known maritime version in that this is a Christmas song. In fact there are a number of Christmas songs and tunes included as well as a `rowdy New Year song and a Wassail Song. Mick shows his prowess at lilting Welsh style on `Lumbers(The Coosha) a Welsh step dancing tune and Pats fine spoon playing is featured too naturally! Another track that took my fancy was the unaccompanied `Soap, Starch, Candles. As is to be expected from a Wildgoose production the album is attractively produced and has extensive notes on the songs as well as information on the Gower, Phil Tanner and the 2 hour show which Mick and Pat perform with The Rag Foundation called `A Gower Garland. Fine stuff.