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Mick Tems of Taplas

reviews The Axford Five by The Askew Sisters & Craig Morgan Robson

WILD Goose continue to surprise, uplift and educate their growing audience with the fascinating and totally absorbing story of five women singers from the village of Axford, Hampshire, all expertly interpreted by Hazel and Emily Askew and the strong harmonies of Carolyn Robson, Sarah Morgan and Moira Craig. The Axford Five in 1907, Sarah Goodyear, Marty Munday, Charlotte Hall, Emma Jane Hopkins and Elizabeth Randall contributed massively to the Gardiner collection, a plethora of old and beautiful folk songs which were the backbone of the Hampshire tradition and culture.

The selected 15 tracks certainly don't disappoint, from The Gypsy Laddie through Tarry Trousers to the jokey The Troopers' Horse. What's more to the point, an old and dusty collection has been totally revitalised here, via turn-of-the-century song carriers in their twenties and seventies, transmitted through today's twentysomethings and women of a certain age. The folk tradition isn't just history it's history come alive now, and that's very, very good news.

Taplas, October/November 2009