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Colin Cater of Mardles

reviews Well Dressed by Keith Kendrick & Sylvia Needham

How splendid: another CD offering from Keith and Sylvia, ever developing their Derbyshire hallmark. Splendid artwork from Hilary Bix in the style of a Derbyshire well dressing; with Keith and Sylvia looking as if they'd just stepped out of the puddled clay at Tissington, or Ashford in the Water or Newborough or any of the summer long well dressing shows.

Of course Keith has been a stalwart of Derbyshire since Derbyshire was just a lad m'duck his vocal command and mastery of both Anglo and English concertinas don't fail him this time either. Opening track Banks of the Nile is an unusual version of a well known song, as is Turpin 'Ero which follows. Sylvia provides a tasteful offering of Three Ravens and the two combine superbly for Sprig of Thyme the best known version this time. Derbyshire features strongly in the Winster tunes Blueeyed Stranger and Joe Pea's and in the two songs Well Dressing Song by Sarah Matthews and The Spire that Aspired by Ian Carter my favourite track. It's not often that a hoary old joke can make a great song. Keith Marsden did it with All his other wives came in and between them Ian and Keith and Sylvia have certainly done it here.

Couple of carps the use of the hurdy gurdy on a couple of tracks detracted, and illustrated why this instrument no longer features in English tradition. The book 'The English Folksinger' was written by Sam Richards and Tish Stubbs, formerly of Staverton Bridge, and both still very active, not as stated in the sleeve notes. But these are small criticisms made by an old fart, who also says go and have a listen; this is really good stuff.