Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Fat Cat Records FATCD029

Twenty years in and there seems no reason to doubt that there’s a further 20 to come from this esteemed duo – they are continuing to write songs that are so good they can almost hurt. The song writing honours are almost equally divided (3 Chris While solos, 4 Julie Matthews solos and 4 collaborations is about as democratic as you can get with 11 songs). Julie Matthews in particular never holds back when there is an important issue to address, and she manages to deal with some humdingers – If This Were Your Last Day does exactly what it says on the tin and gives a tasteful insight into the bucket lists that people make when faced with the inevitable final journey. Similarly, Dancing Under The Gallows was inspired by Alice Herz-Sommer (the oldest survivor of the Holocaust, who recently passed away aged 111 - there are younger yins, just not that many). Chris While offers a cracker called Heaven Is Changing, about Eyam (The Plague Village) where an entire community was isolated to die together, written from the point of view of somebody who reared a child left on the boundary. Chris While’s song (Drop Hammer) about WWII female steel workers in Sheffield and elsewhere, whose contribution to the war effort is still not adequately acknowledged, is a delightful (and catchy) song.

As on previous outings, an admirable assembly of supporting musicians is present and correct. Howard Lees on guitar and Neil Fairclough, in particular, shine throughout. If you get a chance to catch them on tour to support this album it would be worth travelling a distance (a fair distance in my case as they don’t tend to head as North as Scotland…).

Grem Devlin

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 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.