The following review appears in the December/January issue of THE FOLK DIARY and will appear on line at just as soon as my colleague, Jim Marshall gets his computer fixed.


"Down By The Old Riverside"

Musical Traditions MTCD 345-7 (Three album set)

Here is a large collection of recordings made by one large extended family of travellers who live and travel in and around Gloucestershire. It could be the largest and most important set of recordings of traditional song and music made from one family in England. They are all field recordings, principally from tapes made by Peter Shepheard and Gwilym Davies, with some additional recordings from Mike Yates, Hamish Henderson and Peter Kennedy. To do justice to this project in a review of this length would be impossible, so very brief statements will have to suffice. The importance of these recordings can scarcely be overstated. They represent the very best of the last flowering of traditional song in England and praise needs to be heaped upon everyone involved in the recordings and the production of the high quality accompanying booklet.

For the best performance on the three CDs, you have to wait for the 89th and last track. Danny Brazil's voice was reduced to a rough croak by the time of these recordings, but it does not conceal the fact that he had a repertoire of fascinating versions of traditional songs, to which he was able to bring a fascinating and distinctive style. All his contributions are of the highest order of traditional singing, but his "Lord Bakeman" excels all. (VS)

Vic Smith
26 Ferrers Road
East Sussex