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reviews Fruits of the Earth by Jim Causley

Wild Goose Records is rapidly becoming one of the labels for folk music, alongside Fellside, Veteran and Topic. Doug Bailey seems to have that knack and instinct for finding and recording the best English traditional musicians and singers. One of them is Jim Causley. If you donít already know Jim Causley, then try to listen to this album without looking at the album sleeve and just listen to that rich, mature voice. However the pictures of Jim on the sleeve reveal him to be a young man. I also caught up with Jim at Whitby, singing solo, with The Devilís Interval, a trio with Jim, Lauren McCormick and Emily Portman, and with Fay Hield and Jon Boden. Jim hails from Devon and the material on the album is strongly influenced by his upbringing. There is a couple of self-penned songs but itís mostly traditional and all superbly sung. Many of the songs are well known but often as interesting variants and include John Barleycorn, Tan Yard Side, The Pricklie Bush, Lusty Young Smith and Sing Ivy. Jim also introduces the listener to The Whimple Wassail, the wassail song from his hoime village of Whimple in East Devon, the former home of Whiteways Cyder and the largest cider orchards in the country Ė so the wassailing obviously worked! On the evidence of this album and what I saw at Whitby, you are going to hear a lot more of Jim Causley for many years to come.

 Autumn 2005