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MARTIN SIMPSON & DOM FLEMONS - Ever Popular Favourites

MARTIN SIMPSON & DOM FLEMONS - Ever Popular Favourites
Fledg’ling Records FLED3100

They say marriages are made in heaven - well that might be true, although in this case it was the EFDSS who brought Dom Flemons and Martin Simpson together. Their brief was to explore the way folk songs have crossed the Atlantic. The result is this album and the emphasis leans more to the west rather than this side. A few years ago that would have been too much for me but, as age has taken over, I find my musical tastes have broadened, which is just as well as this would have slipped under my radar.

Dom Flemons was a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops whilst Martin, who needs no introduction here, in my opinion, can do no wrong. He has had a keen interest in Afro-American music for many years, often including versions of such in his live set. There is an obvious respect here, not only for each other’s musical ability, but also for the music itself. Both have fantastic voices, Martin is one of the finest guitarists around and what Dom does with the quills (pan pipes) and bones is amazing, and he even plays an electric kettle!

Recorded live on their 2015 tour, each repeat play reveals a new twist. At the time of writing my two favourites are Short Time Come No More, a parody of Stephen Foster’s Hard Times, whilst Bulldoze Blues, with its melody made famous by Canned Heat, is stunning.

Quick mention must be made of the excellent booklet and notes which accompany the CD and also the photography of Elly Lucas. I must say also that I really enjoyed these Ever Popular Favourites.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.