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Derek Gifford of Folk NorthWest

reviews Ghosts & Greasepaint by Barry Lister

Rather surprisingly, considering Barry Listers long association with the folk scene, this is his first solo album. He is, and always has been, a fine interpreter and performer of traditional songs particularly ballads. He begins with two fairly well known standards, Young Edwin in the Lowlands  and The Trim Rigged Doxy, but things get more interesting with Hunting the Hare. This is one from the Baring-Gould manuscripts that Ive not heard before. He is joined on this song by Tom Addison, Dave Lowry and Sean OShea (AKA The Claque*) who also appear on one or two other tracks
A fine rendition of a version of George Collins follows. He then launches into The Factory Set which comprises The Handloom Weaver and the Factory Maid, The Factory Girl, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards which is one of only three non-traditional songs on the entire album, The Doffing Mistress and Cyril Tawneys Monday Morning which he shares with Tom Addison. An interesting mix of material if nothing else!
Next follows a version of Saint Jamess Hospital from the singing of the late, great Bert Lloyd. On the next track, Sir Richards Song from the Kipling/Bellamy collection, Barry is joined on fiddle by Jackie Oates and on guitar by Ed Rennie who add a hauntingly appropriate accompaniment. Sean sings along with him on Limadie which is something of a hybrid love song and again is a new one to me. Its probably also the only folk song where Ive heard a spinet mentioned!
The rest of the album comprises of fairly well known songs including The Bonny Bunch of Roses (the ballad not the shanty!), Come to my Window sung (in low register) by The Claque, a version of Long Lankin and Admiral Benbow. The whole thing is rounded off with an extremely old but lively song called Jack Orion who was a fiddler and therefore is appropriately accompanied by Jackie.
This CD will probably appeal only to a limited audience who appreciate superbly performed and produced traditional folk song which is a great pity because our music deserves  wider recognition and what better protagonist than Barry Lister to promote it?
(*A Claque is a group of hired applauders or sycophantic supporters - yes, I confess, I did have to look it up in the dictionary!)