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Bonny Sartin of EFDSS EDS

reviews Tide of Change by Tom & Barbara Brown

Purely by coincidence this CD arrived just a few days before Tom & Barbara were to be guests at our club in Sherborne so I had the bonus of hearing them live before writing this review. They are so very obviously at home in front of an audience after many years of touring that it seems their natural element and sometimes its very difficult to carry this ease of manner and professionalism over into the very different and sometimes stagnant atmosphere of a recording studio. However this is not the case and if you have enjoyed their music in the past you will be delighted with Tide of Change.

They have an impressive array of instrumentalists to augment their own talents and the tendency can be to over egg the pudding and bury the original when these are to hand but they have not fallen into this trap. Barbaras unaccompanied singing of Barbara Allen, a full 18 verses long, is as good as youll ever hear. We all know the story but she tells it so well, with such feeling, that it still pulls the heart strings. Also there is no affectation in her style, every word is as clear as a bell. You can tell that, to her, the song is the most important item on the agenda.      

In contrast there is the humour of A. J. Coles When Mother & Me Joined In which is carrying on in a fine tradition of country entertainment. My early reading was Yap, In Chimley Corner and A Parcel of Old Crams, books written by Mr. Coles under the pseudonym Jan Stewer, so perhaps Im a little biased but Jan, Im sure, would be delighted that his song still has the capacity to stir an audience to laughter.  

Here is a real mix of songs from the countryside old and new. Two great voices, some cracking harmonies and behind the finished product some thoughtful arrangements and behind the natural, easy-going performance many hours of hard practice.