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Clive Brooks of The Folk Mag

reviews Ghosts & Greasepaint by Barry Lister

Although he has been singing for more than forty years, this is Barry's first solo album. Over the years, he has been involved in various groupings including Isca Fayre and Hollinmor and is currently a member of The Claque.

Barry sings five of the thirteen tracks solo and is joined (vocally) on five tracks by the other members of The Claque and (instrumentally) on three tracks by Ed Rennie and Jackie Oates. Barry is a fine singer with a rich sweet voice. His diction and phrasing are as close to perfect as you can get, and he sings the songs so that the stories within them come through to the full. All in all, a wonderful performer.

The fare is mainly traditional and mostly pretty well known and, of course, none the worse for that. The traditional songs include George Collins, Saint James' Hospital and Young Edwin in the Lowlands. The non-traditional songs are Sir Richard's Song (Kipling/Bellamy), Monday Morning (Cyril Tawney) and the Mick Jagger/Keith Richards song The Factory Girl. These last two songs comprise half of the four-song Factory Set, the other two being The Handloom Weaver and the Factory Maid and The Doffing Mistress. This is an interesting juxtaposition of songs which are quite different from each other but which I think works well.

The vocal work done by his companions in The Claque is of a good standard throughout and, although it's the unaccompanied songs which get my vote, on the accompanied tracks, Barry is well-served by Ed (guitar and melodeon) and Jackie (violin and viola), especially the latter.

Highly recommended - an album to be proud of.