Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest
reviews Pride of the Season by Jack CrawfordJack Crawford is not a well known 'name' in the folk world by any means although I'm sure that the Traditions at the Tiger Folk Club in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire regard him as one of their strongest residents.
Jack is one of the unsung heroes of our traditional folk club circuit whose enthusiasm and diligence into researching and singing traditional songs is well represented in this recording from the Wild Goose stable.
Many of the songs will be familiar to audiences who follow the English tradition including versions of A Brisk Young Widow, The Valiant Sailor and Annan Water.
Jack, however, has delved deeper into the archives to sing us versions of The Bold Dragoon, The Isle of France and The Deluded Lover.
The only contemporary song featured is Cyril Tawney's Suit of Grey although Jack uses Nick Jones's tunes and arrangements on a few tracks, notably The Victory from the Harkness archives from here in the North West at Preston.
Although primarily an unaccompanied singer Jack has been persuaded to employ Mary Humphries and Anahata to accompany him on a number of songs which include their arrangements. Of these When Fishes Fly is an excellent example of their three-way partnership in the music.
Jack's singing style is typically traditional but natural and clear without the 'finger in the ear' connotations that so often plague singers of this genre.
This CD can be regarded as both a work of reference as well as a pleasure to listen to, preferably in small doses due to the concentration of the material.
As with virtually all Wild Goose recordings the sleeve notes are comprehensive, and, in this case, very self-effacing in terms of Jack's personal comments. One for the enthusiasts rather than for general appeal but none the worse for that. Available from Wild Goose or Jack at his home club.