Label: Hallamshire Traditions - HATRCD01 • Format: CD Album • Country: UK • Genre: Folk, World, & Country • Style: Folk
This is a first album from husband-and-wife singers who have wallowed long in the British ballad tradition. Paul and Liz Davenport are Hull-born and bred, and there is a touch of the Watersons in their strong voices and natural understanding. Paul is a recent editor of the EFDSS magazine English Dance and Song, while Liz is descended on her mother's side from the widespread Smith travelling family who has been strong song-carriers for many generations. Familiarity with the tradition gives them the confidence to experiment.
The opening title track, with words from son Gavin, is a variant on The Cruel Mother: the mother is underneath the soil too and the murdered babes plan vengeance on the absent father.
Like most of the songs, it is sung unaccompanied and in unison. Giles Howlett, written by Paul, gives Childe Owlett a convincing modern context: a teacher Under The Leaves - Paul & Liz Davenport - Under The Leaves driven to suicide after a schoolgirl falsely accuses him of sexual advances. Other traditional songs get a lighter makeover - a new verse here, a new tune Kein Aussen Mehr - Kettcar - Werkschau. Not too much sunshine here.
A killer storm does for Sir Patrick Spens and his noble passengers. Nutritious vegetables prove unaffordable in Roger Watson's Watercress-O. But the little-heard Keys of Canterbury closes the album and disperses the gloom. Separate verses for man and woman, a chorus sung in unison, and a pro-marriage ending - perfect for Paul and Liz. At just 33 minutes, this is the briefest album I have reviewed. Short-changing the customer, or giving the finger to conformity? There is more than enough quality here for me to wish it well.
This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine. Tony Hendry.
Korg Poly Sixtyone 04 - Don Quixote - Korg Poly Sixtyone, Fairy Tales - Totally Stressed - Female Art Rock in d minor, Introduction By Slim Notini - Charles Brown With Hjärtslag* - Im Gonna Push On! (Live At Mosebacke), Green Tara Mantra - Hanggai - Baifang