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NICK DOW - My Love You’ve Won To Keep

NICK DOW - My Love You’ve Won To Keep
Old House Music OHM705

This album is a welcome return to the folk scene for Nick Dow, a singer of mainly traditional songs. He’s been busy with his business of signwriting and building and restoring Gypsy wagons, as well as presenting a blues radio programme in Lancashire. It’s his first recording for 15 years. I missed him the first time around, and the quality of his singing left me reeling. He has a warm, mellow, lived-in voice that invites comparison with Cyril Tawney and Dave Burland.

On Jackie Munro, from the singing of Bert Lloyd, he is accompanied by Pete Robinson on melodeon. Blue Mountain, a closing trip to Texas, comes with fiddle, banjo and bass. All other songs are unaccompanied or with Nick playing acoustic guitar.  There’s a lot of country life here. The Seasons Of the Year (not the Copper Family version) takes us through the farming calendar. I particularly enjoyed Tom Walsh’s The Faithful Horse which sets the man-horse relationship against aggressive policing of Travellers on the way to Appleby Fair. The Country Carrier is another horse tribute. The Bellringing (which Nick first heard from Tawney, and which Hilary James has also recorded recently) has a melody which mimics a peal of bells. Lower Down Into The Broom is taken from two versions in the Hammond manuscripts.

Nick is good at reconstructing traditional songs (Riding Down To Portsmouth is a strong example) and his notes reveal firm but sensible views on the folk process. I think that his gigs would be an education as well as a pleasure. He would be an excellent booking for all clubs with a genuine interest in the tradition.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.