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KIMBER'S MEN "See You When The Sun Goes Down" Private Label APL 8

'Kimber's Men' have nothing to do with the legendary 'Merry Kimber' of Morris dance fame. They are a group of singers specialising in maritime material. It would be unfair to call them simply a 'shanty group', although shanties are the bulk of their repertoire, because they range through nautical ballads and broadsides to modern songs such as Bob Watson's Mollymauk, and Gordon Lightfoot's Ballad of Big Blue.

The Kimber name belongs to Neil Kimber, described here as The Bosun, followed by John Bromley, Ships Cook, Roger Hepworth, Cabin Boy, and Joe Stead, Ships Doctor. I doubt that any actual sailing, cooking, or healing goes on between these stalwart Yorkshire- based gentlemen, but sturdy singing does, 25 tracks of it.

Kimber's Men have obviously given plenty of thought to their presentation. A sleeve note refers to the question of 'should shanties be harmonised?' They answer 'Yes' and give out with double tracked harmonies on all choruses. They say that modern songs, such as those mentioned above, have a place alongside old classics like Sally Racket, Lord Franklin, Shallow Brown, and Shenandoah. They sing them out with praiseworthy gutsiness. They believe that good information is part of the package, therefore they provide a booklet with notes on the songs by authorities like Stan Hugill and Roy Palmer, full sets of lyrics, and, nice touch, some Hugill drawings as well. They like to include unusual material too, as borne out by the Menhaden Fishermen's songs, Help Me To Raise 'Em, and Drinking That Wine.

The album is dedicated to the RNLI, and carries Ros & Neil Kimber's song The Robert Whitworth, a tribute to the men of that gallant service.

Sea song fans will love this, and I can foresee Kimber's Men appearing regularly on the rapidly growing maritime festival scene.

Roy Harris.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.