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VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Journey Continues: Fellside At 40

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Journey Continues: Fellside At 40
Fellside Recordings FECD272

It barely seems any time at all since Fellside released Landmarks, their 30th anniversary triple CD, and here we are again bringing us right up to date, with two CDs covering the last 10 years, and a supplementary ‘Director’s Cut’ of selections from the complete catalogue.

For a number of years I lived in Cumbria and during that time Fellside was my local label - looking at their back catalogue, I appear to have a large percentage of the releases in my own collection. Of the more recent recordings, some obvious contributions from the rising stars of the firmament stand alongside archive recordings by A.L. Lloyd and Peter Bellamy, painstakingly restored. Bram Taylor, the longest standing Fellside Artiste (since 1984) has contributed a new track, revisiting The Valley Of Strathmore from his first album, accompanied by Dave Howard – ostensibly as a fund-raiser for the terminally ill Andy M. Stewart, who has sadly passed away before the release. It’s a great version of one of Stewart’s best songs. Other highlights of the first two CDs include Last Orders, Elbow Jane and Pete Morton – oh, and a live stormer from Swarbrick & Carthy (The Sheepstealer). A nice cameo appearance by Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, gleaned from Fellside’s first venture into DVDs, is a timely reminder that the future of our traditional heritage is in willing hands.

The third CD has the highest proportion of absolute gems. Bobby Eaglesham’s Helen Of Kirkconnell is faultless as ever, and John Wright’s reading of When This Old Hat Was New is a welcome inclusion. Nice also to see Janet Russell’s version of The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow. I particularly like Linda Adams’ take on Yellow Handkerchief, one of her rare studio appearances.

At three CDs for the price of one, you won’t get a better value introduction to this label, one of folk music’s enduring gems. Hats off to Paul Adams.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 113 of The Living Tradition magazine.