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Tony ONeill of Shire Folk (remix)

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

Sub-titled 'Traditional Songs from Devon and Cornwall' from the collection of Sabine BaringGould. Like many people I had heard of the enormous task of collating and transcribing the collection(s) of the Rev BaringGould by Wren Music, and apart from a small sample from Martin and Shan Graebe this is my first listening to a slice of the collection.

The songs had in fact been 'lost' throughout the Revival and were not 'rediscovered' until comparatively recently, the result being that most of the material is related to more familiar versions; 'Blue Muslin' to 'The Keys of Canterbury' etc. One wonders what impact the collections would have had if they had been better known? The overall feel of the CD is that of the West Gallery movement - hardly surprising when you consider where West Gallery is rooted. Because of that I found the CD over orchestrated in places and thus distracting from the bare material of the songs. It seems unlikely to me that the songs would have been sung in such a fashion by the people that B-G collected from, and some would have benefited from being sung without accompaniment.

That being said the CD provides an insight in to the vast reservoir of songs and tunes, and achieves its stated aim to select songs from the collection to 'enrich and inform' - and that can't have been been easy from such a vast source.

I liked the CD presentation with its illustrations and brief sleeve notes giving just enough information to whet one's whistle and make one want to explore further.