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Dai Jeffries of R2

reviews Long Time Travelling by Jeff Warner

When Jeff Warner was in the neighbourhood recording this album, back in the spring, I was fortunate to be at one of few gigs he played. It was one of those evenings that really take you somewhere else: not just the songs and the style but the context and cultural milieu are, not alien exactly, but something beyond our experience.

So it is with this album. There are shanties, work songs, old hymns and ballads as well as compositions like 'Sunny Side Of Life' and 'Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still'. Some tunes and storylines are familiar Warner rather cheekily implies that Juberju began life in lumber camps before becoming a North Sea shanty but that familiarity simply emphasises the differences. 'Bold Harpooner' and 'Lumberman's Alphabet' have old world equivalents but 'Old Moke Picking On The Banjo' could only come from the Americas.

Jeff's concertina and banjo are joined on this splendid album by two of his regular supporters, Barbara Benn and Dave Surrette, with Keith Kendrick, Vicki Swann and Jonny Dyer among the British contingent. From the exuberance of 'I Done Done' to the despair of 'By The Hush', all human life is here.