Link to Living Tradition Homepage





PETE COE - Tall Tailes

PETE COE - Tall Tailes
Backshift Music  BASHCDEXTRA59

Anyone who has done more for folk music than Pete Coe has MBE after his or her name, wears an EFDSS gold badge, and is a shoo-in candidate for deification.  Here the lad is again, this time with a CD to inspire and entertain the kids. Pete was a primary school teacher before he became a professional musician, and he’s been going back to schools for years to do workshops and presentations. Tall Tailes is based on one such workshop and he’s joined on the choruses by Years 5 and 6 pupils from a school in Ripponden. The 15 songs on this 53-minute album deliver what young children like:  the grotesque, the gruesome, the rude, the ridiculous, and lots and lots of animals. Around half are traditional.

Take a few of the beastie songs first.  Pete’s Animals, Beasts and Creatures uses the Sailor’s Alphabet tune and structure (“H is for human, the strangest of all”). Daddy Fox is given a last verse which will delight the anti-hunting lobby. Cyril Tawney’s Stanley The Rat tells of an elusive rodent on a submarine. Leslie Haworth’s Froggie sees the marriage of a frog and a mouse end in carnage. There Was A Pig Went Out To Dig is a delightful Christmas song where birds and animals do farming jobs (“There was a thrush went out to thresh”).

Memory testers are present in Tree On The Hill and the well known Herring’s HeadBlack, White, Yellow And Green are the colours of mobile, maggot-ridden plum puddings. There is more daftness in Hop, Hop, Hop which allows the kids to sing a verse starting “Teacher, teacher I declare, I can see your underwear”.

The instrumentation is imaginative and engaging. It includes tuba (Michael Beeke), hurdy gurdy (Jon Loomes), hammer dulcimer (Chris Coe), jews harp (Lucy Wright) and bubbles (Alice Jones). Pete confines himself to melodeon, banjo and bouzouki.

Is Tall Tailes a thoroughly wholesome and uplifting collection of songs? No. Will its title help kids to spell correctly?  No. Is it fun enough to get them interested in folk songs? Definitely.

Tony Hendry

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 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.