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Vic Smith of fRoots - March 2009 #309

reviews Pride of the Season by Jack Crawford

Jack is from the Midlands and has been associated with folk clubs and Morris
dance for 40 years. This selection taken from his extensive repertoire has
a lot going for it. The songs, drawn from the British tradition, have been
carefully selected and well researched and it is clear that they have been
meticulously prepared for this recording. Jack's voice draws a pleasant response from the listener. His singing is sure and with his delicate use of decorations, vibrato and adornments, it is clear that he is relishing each performance.

In folk clubs, Jack is heard singing unaccompanied, but here he chooses to
sing some to backing by Anahata and Mary Humphries and as might be expected
they make a supportive and unobtrusive job of it. The man is a member of
the National Council of the EFDSS and a trustee of the Vaughan Williams
Memorial Library and the song notes reflect his authoritative status on
traditional song.

In a few cases, it is possible to compare his performances with recordings
of his sources, with Paddy Tunney and Walter Pardon, for example. In these
cases, it is clear that Jack delivers the song more slowly than his source
and this raises the only problem with the album: its pace. His delivery of
A Brisk Young Widow, though much slower than most, might be described as
mid-tempo. Everything else is sung at what might be called a very relaxed
speed, sometimes the pace slows as the song unfolds, as Jack savours and
holds a sequence of notes in his admittedly beautiful voice.