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ROD SHERMAN 'The Rod Sherman Song Book' ISBN1903963141

It arrived in my post this morning, the long awaited Rod Shearman Song Book and it was worth the wait!

Dave and Anni have created a wonderful record of not only Rod's work, but his life in pictures as well. The notation is very clear, a single melody line that is easy to follow and not overburdened with fancy directions or chords. The text for the verses could have done with being a little bigger, but there are so many songs (46) that would not have fit if it were so. The songs are a mixture of chorus and narrative, each written with the simplicity and "singability" that was Rods' trademark.

The preface gives a very personal and sensitive introduction to the book, and says so much more than its content. In the rest of the book, there are no remarks, no footnotes, no histories or fripperies, just the tunes and the lyrics and the author's life. Interspersed throughout the text are pictures of Rod and his friends and family. Many of these will be familiar to those who attended his memorial in Cecil Sharp House, where they were piled high on a table and everyone was invited to look through them. They have been placed with great care and thoughtfulness to the text, ranging from the shy grin of a small boy in uniform to the dashing seaman 'off to sea again'. A strange, clean-shaven and dapper young sailor looks out from 'the land of long white cloud' and the bespectacled, hairy gentleman that I got to know is surrounded by his friends.

If you have any of Rod's CDs, then the book is a welcome addition. If you are learning them to sing and share (which is, after all, why he wrote them) then the clarity and page layouts are perfect (no awkward page turns). If you have never heard of him before, then all I can say is, this is a great book to start off with.

Liz Draper (Liz the Squeak)

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.