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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Nowt So Funny As Folk" ADA Recordings ADA105CD

When you get a comedy compilation CD for review with such stellar names on it as Tony Capstick, Les Barker, Bernard Wrigley and Cosmotheka, well you just know that you are not going to be disappointed. And of course this raid on the archives saw the aforementioned really delivering some of their best known funny numbers.

But the greatest pleasure came from the unexpected. Sean Cannon's version of Sick Note was new to me, but having said that, I can think of no higher praise than to say that it did not make me hanker for Noel Murphy's magnificent version. Cyril Tawney's Chinese Maiden's Lament had its moments, and Lester Simpson did a solid version of a witty song by John Conolly: one that should be much better known, viz. The Librarian's Lament.

However, it was not all plain sailing: there were occasional hiccoughs. On the CD's front cover the contents are billed as "hilarious songs and stories". But, there were some tracks here that seemed curiously unsuited to the adjective "hilarious". Sure the Roaring Jelly, Anthony John Clarke and Robb Thompson tracks may have some merit, but if they are remotely funny - let alone "hilarious" - then all I can say is the humour escaped me. (But no doubt there is something wrong with ME!)

But the funny stuff outweighed the remainder, so if it's humour you are after, you could do a lot worse than buy this album. And the sound quality is A1: this CD has obviously been well mastered and produced. Quite different from some compilations where the sound can be so variable.

Dai Woosnam.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.