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Ray Langton of EDS

reviews BitterSweet by Bob & Gill Berry

Bob and Gill Berry first met in 1983, and since that time have been deeply involved in singing and running folk clubs, as well as organising Chippenham Folk Festival. Singing for them has, to some extent, had to take a back seat, and this CD is an opportunity to hear the pair of them back 'in performance mode'. There are fourteen tracks here with a mix of accompanied and unaccompanied songs all sung with feeling, and with accompaniments that support the songs without being intrusive.

There are several songs here that stand out: for example the CD opens with 'England's Glory', a powerful song by John Prosser describing the plight of women working in the Bryant and May Match Factory. 'May Day' is a well-performed traditional song which is followed by 'Gay Green Gown', another superb traditional song, while 'Dockyard Wall', written by Shep Wooley, has a music hall feel to it. The CD finishes with 'A Song of Time' written by Alan Bell, which has a flowing klezmer flavour.

This CD represents Bob and Gill doing what they love and are good at interpreting good songs with feeling, and showing a real respect for their material, wherever it comes from. Perhaps Bob and Gill will be able to find more time to get out and about singing, but if not, this CD gives you the opportunity to appreciate their singing in your own home.