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Tony ONeill of Shire Folk

reviews Well Dressed by Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham

Keith and Syilvia have been performing together for some time now, and this CD clearly demonstrates how close they have become as performers and interpreters of English Song, with tight harmonies and powerful individual renditions. They also, unusually, back themselves with three systems of the only English invented musical instrument, the Concertina I hate clever people!

This CD, ('England on a stick'!) is a fine selection in 20 tracks of English ballads, songs and tunes, acapella, in harmony and accompanied by a mass of instruments, too numerous to name here but subtly applied.

The 'Well Dressed' of the CD's title refers not to Keith and Sylvia's sartorial elegance, (although who am I to deny it?) but to 'Well Dressing Song' (Sarah Matthews) which is one of only two songs written in the last 50 years that celebrate the pre Christian custom of well dressing, to thank the Earth for the supply of spring water to her communities.
Two other tracks stood out to me, although all are worth a listen. 'The Tower That Aspired' (Ian Carter) which purports to tell why the spire of Chesterfield Church became twisted in the way it is and `Love Farewell' (Trail) which I came to via John Tam's version but I like this much different offering.