Link to Living Tradition Homepage





JOHNNY COPPIN - Borderland

JOHNNY COPPIN - Borderland
Red Sky Records RSKCD120

Every year as December starts, I begin to put away the CDs I have been playing to replace them with more seasonal offerings. One of the first to emerge is always Johnny’s A Country Christmas which, I am afraid to say is (apart from a Decameron reissue) the only one I have of his. I think there might be some vinyl up in the loft, bought after one of his live folk club gigs from far too many years ago.

So it was a pleasant surprise when Borderland came up for review. Since those folk club days, Johnny has been busy producing a back catalogue of a dozen or so CDs, as a broadcaster on local radio and as a writer of original music for theatre. But throughout that time he has been a performer of some renown.

Enough of the history, what of the present and Borderland in particular? I was pleased to hear Johnny’s voice is just as rich and emotive as I remember it. Here we have a collection of songs, most of which will be familiar - some traditional, some new. Included in the middle is a short ‘suite’ of three songs commemorating the centenary of the start of the First World War. Johnny tells the story in each clearly with the emotions to the fore. Throughout the whole disc the vocals are at the front but there are excellent arrangements featuring, amongst others, Paul Burgess, Mike Silver and Karen Tweed. The stunning flugelhorn of Kevin Harcourt on Dream Of England makes it the standout track.

Make no mistake, this is a very polished work from someone who is still at the top of their game. It seems a long time since we used to see Johnny Coppin in my local folk clubs. To coin a cliché – he has definitely been under the radar (mine anyway) and bad news for my bank balance is that I realise there is a hole in my CD collection to be filled soon.

Dave Beeby

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 101 of The Living Tradition magazine.