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Chris Bartram of Shreds and Patches

reviews Dark the Day by Mick Pearce & Kitty Vernon

Many performers on the folk scene these days produce CDs to sell at gigs. If this is Mick and Kittys intention they have produced a very fine album. Anyone who sees them in live performance and wants a well recorded memento would be well advised to buy this CD.

The recording and production (by Doug Bailey at Wildgoose Studios) is excellent. My only criticism is the choice of first track on which Kitty sounds rather tense for the first couple of verses. On other tracks, when she is more relaxed, her voice is clear and sweet. Mick too has a fine voice and is a very talented accompanist. They are joined on some tracks by several other wonderful singers and musicians. For example, Helen Akitt sings harmony on a version of her own song, Smoke In The Valley. This is a poignant song about Chinese farmers burning their crops to starve locusts to prevent them moving on to other farms. Another recent composition Blood On the Coals by Charlie Hardy. Ive liked this song since I heard Charlie at Whittlebury in the early eighties and it is nice to see it taken up by others. The title says it all, really. Then there are the traditional songs. In particular I must mention Lord Gregory. You dont hear this song very often which is a shame, especially when it can be sung as well as this. Mick does a fine job here.

Theres nothing particularly innovative about any of the arrangements but it is all, as we say in Wales tidy. This is music in that broad category of reasonable familiarity and easy listening that very many people value highly.