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Derek Gifford of Folk North West

reviews Dead Maid's Land by Paul Wilson & Marilyn Tucker

This album is a collection of 15 songs and 2 tunes selected from the many hundreds collected in Devon and Cornwall by the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould over a century ago. They reflect very well the local life of the time. The song When I Was Young probably represents this comprehensively with its veritable gazetteer of West Country places and a compendium of trades and professions of the time.
Among the better known songs are very interesting versions of Herrings Head, Three Drunken Maidens, Golden Vanity and Georgie (AKA Geordie). The title track is an early version of the Seeds of Love a song collected much later by Cecil Sharp.
There is also an unusual wassailing song from Cornwall called Robin Redbreast .
Among the other highlights is Gypsy Countess a fascinating song with links to the Wraggle-taggle Gypsies and The Old Ewe is a strange account of a trip to Guernsey. Haymaking and Harvest Song are particularly appealing chorus songs. I can almost hear them been sung at many a singaround or festival singing session.
The two jaunty tunes included are William Andrews Hornpipes nos. 1 & 2  making a nice break from the songs.
Paul Wilson acted as a creative musical director reflected in the competent arrangements, harmonies and accompaniments some of which even include a touch of brass. A high standard of performance from the musicians and singers (too many to mention individually) on this album make it well worth a place in anyones collection of our traditional folk song heritage. Highly recommended and available from WildGoose via their web site - or telephone 01264 860569.