Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
VARIOUS ARTISTS "Gwerin" 101 Records 101RECCD10

What do you want from your local folk scene? A network of thriving clubs? A couple of festivals? Unsung heroes who can sing? A few people with a wider regional or national reputation? North East Wales (the former county of Clwyd) has all that and, with this 73-minute showcase album, a bit more. The 21 artists each provide a track free of charge, and profits go to support live music through the local clubs (including Rhyl, Rhuthun, Denbigh and Wrexham) and festivals (at Rhuddhan and Holywell). Every area needs a CD like this.

The material is as variable as the artists are various. Spotless traditional songs and tunes in Welsh and English jostle with folk rock, Country and Clwyd, transatlantic Middle-Of-The-Road, and songs of anodyne whimsy. Purists will walk out on this album well before the raffle, but my only grumble is that there's too much blandness and not enough bite.

With a diverse collection like this, the temptation is to devise silly awards. I won't resist it. Finest Folk Rockers award goes to Catraeth, whose exciting track from their album Y Frwydr reminded me of early Runrig. Worst Name goes, inevitably, to Rum, Bum and Concertina. Best Traditional Musician goes to Neil Browning on squeezebox for the track from his album Scwisbocs. Only Original Song With Teeth goes to Nick Gausden for News From Ladbroke Grove, about the last rail disaster but two. Deserving Of Wider Audience and Best Track both go to Annette Batty and John Neilson for a slow, smoky version of One Night As I Lay On My Bed.

Chris Bailey, the moving force behind this album, really does deserve an award. This is an excellent example of good husbandry at the grass roots. Lets have more like it.

Tony Hendry

Secure On-line mailorder service Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 43 of The Living Tradition magazine.