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Kath Holden of Folk Northwest

reviews Songs from the Derbyshire Coast by Keith Kendrick

This is Keith's third album with Wild Goose Records and a very fine one too, a well thought out balance of traditional songs of the sea and some of the land, hand in hand with some good contemporaries. It wouldn't be complete without a shanty or two and then some good tunes to tap your feet to. What more could you want. Well yes, they all should be well performed and I can't fault that either.


The traditional songs are ones we know and love "Bold Riley", "Lowlands of Holland", "The Echoin' Horn", "Once I courted a damsel" and a lovely rendition of "Napoleon's Dream". Two rousers are "Beulah Land" which according to the track notes is set to the tune of the Fijian national anthem (I bet everyone except me knew that anyway), and a Christmas carol from the Sheffield pub carol singing traditions "Awake! Arise!" sung with enthusiasm and harmonic hosannas. Keith is joined by Lynne Heraud in a version of the whaling song "The coast of Peru" - I don't imagine there's much whaling these days in Derbyshire, but who am I to say. "The Sailor's Prayer" written by New York singer/songwriter Rod McDonald is a song of fight and defiance against nature, which Keith dedicates to modern day heroes like Dave Swarbrick, Ellen McArthur and the Tsunami survivors. I can't decipher from the notes, who is singing the harmony on this one but it's a good song. The other contemporary song is by Mike O'Connor from Cornwall. Based on the same theme as Graham Miles' "The Green Man", it comes a close second.


I did say there were some tunes and "Turkish Quickstep" composed by Karl Kotzwara in London in 1788 is a real foot tapper, one of those tunes I never knew the name of. Two versions of it are played in sequence, the first one features Keith on concertina with Michael Beeke on English pipes and the second Keith again with Sarah Matthews on fiddle. The other set of tunes are "Roman Reel" from the Ashover collection played by Keith, Cross O'the Hands, Alice Jones and Michael Beeke, and "Polka Chinoise" played by Keith and Ralph Jordan on McCann duet concertina. A Keith Kendrick CD would not be complete without a shanty or two and with a little help from his friends Doug Bailey, Tom Brown, Doug Eunson and John Adams, we have "A Hundred Years Ago/Essequibo River/Rolling down the Bay to Juliana" - all very rousing stuff.


This is a CD you can have a jolly good sing to in the car and enjoy every minute.