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Colin Cater of Mardles

reviews Sea Strands by Tim Laycock

This latest offering from Tim combines self penned tunes and songs, with collected folksongs, poems by Dorset luminaries Thomas Hardy and William Barnes, and the wonderful The Old Smith written by Fred Rooke, for which song alone the CD is worth buying. All are performed in the impeccably sensitive manner that has sustained Tim through a long career as a professional folk musician. Within this compilation written songs stand four square with collected material; in any case folksongs like Write Me Down, The Turtle Dove and John Barleycorn are distributed so widely across England as to suggest common written origins and transmission - their art lies in what source singers in local communities both then and now through Tim do to them. Working with Taffy Thomas early in his career and with re-enactors more recently, Tim has never viewed folk as existing in a vacuum, so that songs like Death in the Nut from a Duncan Williamson story, and Broadoak Wassail, complement the older songs splendidly. Tim's tunes are a joy, particularly the slip jig, Blackbeard's Diamond, and he is ably supported throughout by Robin Jeffrey (strings), Colin Thompson (fiddle) and Gabriel Laycock (12 string). One small gripe sleeve notes printed in mauve on a beige background test the visually challenged (me!). But I'll listen to this CD lots, long after the notes are consigned to the jewel case. Good stuff.