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Des Redwood of The Folk Mag

reviews The Island of Apples by Mick Ryan & Pete Harris

I was delighted to be able to review this CD. Mick and Pete are two great folk artists. Mick has written so many fine songs over the years and sings with an enchantingly fine voice, one that sends tingles down your spine as the songs unfold. How does Mick manage to hold those end notes as long as he does? As many of us know, Pete sings well, too, but he is also a very versatile musician able to play a wide variety of instruments with consummate ease, as he does yet again on this CD.

Most of the songs were already familiar to me. Having seen Mick and Pete so often at clubs and festivals, it was lovely to have songs from their earlier CDs as tracks for this new offering, sitting alongside songs that have been emerging recently through their appearances around the country.
Tracks from Micks various musicals are included. So it is no surprise to see songs from A Tolpuddle Man, Tanks For The Memory and The Voyage. Having visited Tyneham and found out the story of the long-abandoned village, I always like hearing The Land and Life. And I just love A Tolpuddle Man, which has such a great chorus to accompany its thought-provoking lyrics.

I really like the way the new and old songs run alongside each other. So it is as nice to hear The Labourers Cause as it is to hear the title track, The Island of Apples. A little later. Cupids Garden was especially enjoyable as it is a Copper Family song, from Rottingdean, just along from where I was born. Pete leads on Tom Paines Bones, a fascinating story about the great radical who died in America. For a bit of fun, go for Fresh Fish  a nice singalong song.

My favourite track has to be the final one on the CD  The Song Goes On. What a great song in memory of the one and only Cyril Tawney. The first time I heard it at the Y Theatre in Leicester was a magic moment and we all quickly picked up its fine lyrics, delightful tune and joined in with much enthusiasm.

The Island of Apples has a total of 14 tracks, each one a treat. So many of them have fine lyrics that tell stories wonderfully woven by Mick and accompanied so finely by Pete. For all fans of these two artists, this is a CD to put on your must have list and dont forget that when you meet up with them you may get just a little encouragement from Mick to take them home with you!! Actually, Mick and Pete, you do not need to encourage us  just keep producing such fine songs and CDs and your reputation will do the rest!