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JED GRIMES 'Head On' Blue Guitar Records - BGCD022

Jed has pulled out all of the stops for this album. His choice of material and production values are of the highest order, as you would expect, but the real breath of fresh air weaving in and out of these tracks is the combination of Jed's mature voice and tight guitar playing.

The material is mostly traditional, primarily Northeast English, and honed to perfection throughout. Garry Lindsay's wonderful alto and soprano saxes inject jazzy flavours to the brew, and the rhythm section of Neil Harland and Paul Smith complement Graham Wood's keyboards well, but ultimately it is a Jed Grimes album, and showcases his confidence and abilities more than adequately - including as a Producer as well as Artiste. Mind you, even if you don't fancy jazz sax on your folk songs there are plenty of other delights to explore - for example an Irish Barb'ry Ellen (where Scarlet Town becomes Newry - I'm sure that John Jacob Niles wouldn't mind) and a rewrite of A Sailor's Life as A Soldier's Life. Ye Mariner's All is reglurged as Jug o' This and there is a superb version of Geordie Black. The crammed gig listings for Jed mean that we've all got an opportunity to hear this set live - as they deserve to be heard. I'll be one of the first in the queue, having not seen Jed for years, and really pleased by my re-acquaintance with his flamboyant guitar style and that enviable depth of voice. Nice one Jed.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.