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Ken Hinchliffe of Whats Afoot

reviews Songs from the Derbyshire Coast by Keith Kendrick

I suspect that rarely these days, do people sit down and listen to music, of whatever genre, simply for the pure joy of the music. Well, for those traditionalists amongst us, this album warrants every bit of your attention.

This is Keith Kendrick's third album with Wildgoose records and I believe it to be the best yet. With one exception all of the twelve songs (there are fourteen tracks in total) have been recorded by other artists in the past, but Keith presents them with an innovative freshness which sets them apart from those that have gone before.

Summon Up the Sun by Mike O'Connor, is one of those songs which have that touch of magic. Add Keith's warm toned, powerful but sensitive voice, and you have a combination which makes compelling listening - absolutely stunning.

It would be impossible for me to select a favourite track from this CD, simply because of the enjoyment derived from each and every one, but Sally Free and Easy deserves a special mention. Keith sings this song in harmony with Sylvia Needham. Their voices blend and compliment each other's, capturing the anger and despair of this Cyril Tawney song to perfection. It is unquestionably, the best interpretation that I have ever heard of this song. The other songs, however, are tastefully balanced against one another, from the expressive lament Once I Courted a Damsel, to a bouncingly rhythmic, foot-tapping, Beulah Land.

I am a self confessed Kendriaphile. I personally prefer his solo voice, uncluttered by other voices excellent as they may be. Two good examples of this are with Lowlands of Holland and Napoleon's Dream. For me, Keith Kendrick, epitomises all that a folk singer should be. Plus, he plays the Anglo concertina and English concertina to perfection, and while on the subject, it is pertinent that I should mention track 6 on the CD. Turkish Quickstep. This wonderful little tune is part of a piece called The Battle of Prague and included in the instrumental line up are the English pipes. A touch of inspiration on someone's part, and in this instance, they lift the music to an additional delightful dimension.

Out of the entire CD I have but one constructive observation (is that different to criticism?) to make. Keith clearly has experienced and been greatly impressed by the carol singing at `The Royal Hotel' Dungworth, Sheffield. However good the interpretation of Awake Arise is, and it is truly good, I feel that a carol is out of context with all the other excellent material on this CD.