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Phil Thomas of The Living Tradition

reviews Tide of Change by Tom & Barbara Brown

Tom and Barbara Brown seem to have been around forever. Based in the delightful West Country village of Combe Martin they are two of the best traditional singers in Britain. For this recording they have enlisted the help of friends like Ralph Jordan and Paul Sartin but it remains essentially Tom and Barbara's work. I use the word 'work' advisedly because they have clearly put in some effort in assembling this collection of songs.


The CD comprises mostly traditional songs, though two of my favourite tracks are Eric Bogle's 'The Sound of Singing' and the
traditional 'Song of the Flail' from the 1920s 'Echoes of  Exmoor' collection, which has been set to a new tune by Barbara. I am also very partial to the title track which is written by Hilary Bix, who also provided some very tasteful artwork for the CD (This lady is a gem, Tom and Barbara... look after her).


I guess I have only one problem. The CD is well produced and engineered but, for me, nobody has yet been able to capture on CD the way Barbara's voice fills a room and you can't record the twinkle in Tom's eye as he performs. Live performance is when Tom and Barbara are really at their best. If you are already a fan you will love this CD. If you have not heard them before this is a good place to start.