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Jan Strapp of Shire Folk

reviews Grand Conversation by Mick Ryan & Paul Downes

Mick Ryan is a successful and well-respected writer and singer of songs from comic through to serious, and has performed in radio ballads and shows. Paul Downes has worked with Phil Beer, The Arizona Smoke Revue, Pete Seeger and The Joyce Gang and has toured the length and breadth of Britain, USA and Europe.

Paul manages to enhance the depth and quality of Mick’s voice whilst still showing why he is one of the most respected guitarists on the folk scene. The two work together exceedingly well, and fans of both Mick and Paul will not be disappointed. There are 14 tracks, four of which are traditional (arr: Downes/Ryan) with the rest written by Mick. Some are taken from Mick’s shows. ‘The Voyage’, ‘A Day’s Work’ and ‘The Navvy’s wife’. Each track tells a different story, and have been taken from many sources, like the song taken from the church wall at Northlew - The Bell Ringing, or the one learnt from a ‘traveller’ on a council estate, Young Men All.

All sung and played to perfection.