Link to Living Tradition Homepage





VARIOUS ARTISTS - Old Songs And Bothy Ballads: The Little Ball Of Yarn

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Old Songs And Bothy Ballads: The Little Ball Of Yarn
Autumn Harvest  AH011

This is the eighth annual CD to emerge from the Fife Traditional Singing Weekend held each May. It is no mean feat to distil an entire weekend of traditional song from some of the finest singers from the UK, but this is does pretty superb job. As one might imagine, Scotland is ably represented here by traveller singer Elizabeth Stewart, bothy balladeers Joe Aitken, John Valentine and Duncan MacRae and the rich tones of Emma Spiers. From outside the Scottish borders comes fine Northern Irish singer Len Graham, lark-voiced English singer Emily Portman and Lincolnshire’s Brian Dawson. In keeping with the communal spirit of the weekend, there are a good many rousing chorus songs, like Green Grows The Laurel, O Good Ale and Aikey Brae. However, quieter moments such as Emily Portman’s poised Our Captain Calls and Len Graham’s poignant Willie O add a healthy light and shade to the musical palette.

This is very much a live recording - coughs, rattling cutlery and all – but there is all the immediacy of a field recording, and a real sense of camaraderie is captured. The album closes with Shepheard, Spiers and Watson (not merely Peter Shepheard, as the sleevenotes state!) leading the company in a rousing farewell song Ye Boys O Callieburn. For those lucky enough to be there it serves as a fine memento; for those who were not, it stands on its own as an excellent selection of offerings from some of the finest exponents of traditional song.

Clare Button

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 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.