Tea Trading
VARIOUS ARTISTES - Strange Coincidences In Speciality Tea Trading
Osmosys OSOCHEAP027

Well, here is a compilation CD that is a candidate to win several awards. First, the most eclectic collection of artistes on any folk compilation I will ever review; second the most charming liner notes on how the album came to be; and third the wittiest catalogue number on any compilation CD anywhere!

Regarding the mix of performers: try these on for size. Maddy Prior singing Sydney Carter; the (of blessed memory) Incredible String Band; Brian Perkins reading Les Barker's version of the Shipping Forecast; And Did Those Feet singing a Welsh language gem; Dougie Maclean at his incomparable best with Rabbie Burns; Anthony John Clarke with an arresting song that was new to me; both Tony Hall and Blowzabella showing that they could both do their bit on the instrumental front; Emma Heath with an achingly pure version of The Blacksmith; and finally, Quietly Spinning Man with a song that has considerably grown on me since I first heard it a year ago.

Quite a mix, and that is only HALF of them.  (Alas, space restrictions mean I cannot give them all a mention.)

And as for the origins of the label and the startling coincidence at the root of its birth: let's also say that you'd best read Richard Ellin's charming notes! A summary from me will not do them justice.

Suffice to say that it is a collection that I quite enjoyed. Most of the contributions were sufficiently non-mainstream as to avoid the charge of seeming like used chewing gum: a charge that even the best compilations are sometimes not free from.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 63 of The Living Tradition magazine.