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Oz Hardwick of R2

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

Not, as it sounds, a plea for redress of a miscarriage of justice but rather a celebration of songs collected by George Gardiner from women in North Hampshire in 1907.

Many of the songs enjoyed widespread popularity, but one of the pleasures here is the snapshot of the versions that were current in a particular location at a particular time. ‘An Old Man Came Courting Me’, for example, is more decorous than most versions – a judgment that certainly can't he applied to the racy ‘Trooper's Nag’.

The other pleasure, of course, is in fine singing and sensitive accompaniment: those familiar with the Askews' All In A Garden Green will find similar delights to enjoy here, whilst the collaboration with Craig Morgan Robson (that's three women rather than one bloke) opens up a new world of vocal arrangements on pieces like 'Down The Lane' and 'Lowlands Of Holland',