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Colin Andrews of Whats Afoot

reviews Pride of the Season by Jack Crawford

For traditional songs simply and sympathetically delivered in a rich, clear, unaffected voice, one would have to rate Jack Crawford as one of the best, judging from his performance on this CD. Normally he sings unaccompanied but he is joined on some tracks by his friends Mary Humphreys and Anahata, who provide vocal & instrumental backing with melodeon, concertina, cello, and banjo.

Donít expect anything in the way of bawdy, jolly chorus songs, for Jack clearly has a preference for slower paced ballads and songs. Each one is a joy to listen to, but it does give the CD a rather low-key feel overall, with little contrast. This should not be regarded as a criticism, but rather a caution to anyone who likes their folk song with attitude.

Itís quite appropriate that Mary Humphreys has worked with Jack on this album for they both come over as singers who genuinely have a feel for their material and enjoyment in singing. When Fishes Fly , for example, features in both their repertoires. Since Nic Jones made Annan Water popular years ago, many singers have been attracted to it, and Jack treats it respectfully. The Slaveís Lament (words attributed to Roberts Burns) stands out, with haunting words & tune.

Jack hails from Derbyshire, where he is a resident at a folk club in Long Eaton. After many years of Morris, as a fool & musician, he has refocussed on his first interest as a singer and researcher. He is a member of the National Executive of EFDSS.