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Peter Bellamy - "Mr Bellamy, Mr Kipling & The Tradition" - FECD162

This is a a double CD set, comprising 'Keep On Kipling' (first released in 1982) and 'Songs an' Rummy Conjurin' Tricks' (issued on cassette in '92), and also has several interesting bonus tracks. The first disc is all Kipling and includes 'Roll Down To Rio', 'The Liner She's A Lady', 'Follow Me 'Ome', 'Heffle Cuckoo Fair' and 'My Boy Jack'. These are from what was Bellamy's fourth Kipling album where the material was selected to show the diversity of Kipling's writing, but here the variety of that original recording is enhanced by the addition of seven tracks which he had re-recorded with Nigel Schofield. 'Sir Richards Song', 'The Looking Glass', and 'Philadelphia' are amongst them.

The second disc is a recording of a live set at Cockermouth Folk Club in '91 which came about largely on a whim when Bellamy invited Paul Adams to take his new DAT digital recorder along to the gig. And just as well he did because it is essential Bellamy, recorded when he was at the peak of both his singing and performing. Bellamy was flamboyant, uncompromising, and extremely gifted, but his style was not for everyone - you loved it or hated it! This set has the full range of his work with Kipling's verse, English traditional, and American songs all represented, plus a couple of contemporary songs. Highlights for me are 'Big Steamers', 'Santa Fe Trail', and Bob Copper's 'The Old Songs', although there isn't a duff track on there.

This two disc set is another welcome reissue from Fellside as part of their twenty-fifth anniversary year - excellent production, excellent material, excellent CD, and Peter Bellamy at his best.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.