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BOB LESLIE - In Praise Of Crows 

BOB LESLIE - In Praise Of Crows 
Big Red Records BIGRED5 

When, in these pages, I reviewed Bob’s very promising 2019 CD, Land And Sea, I ended my review by saying “I don’t know that I would buy this album, but I might buy his next”. And now here I am, trying to decide like an Aussie Hamlet, “to buy, or not to buy?”

Well, Bob’s a wily character who takes on board the classic advice for speechwriters: viz. always start and end well. His opener, Don’t Start The Revolution In The Morning, is the album’s standout track, bringing to my mind at least, Cyril Tawney’s witty recollection of mass singing of We Shall Overcome on countless demos in the Sixties: and Cyril’s droll observation that everyone amongst the assembled wanted to overcome different things! And his strong closing song is his bonus track, a different arrangement of his beautiful Bess Millie. Magic.

One senses though that the song Bob has greatest hopes for is Track 6, Next Best Bed, his adaptation of a poem by Carol Ann Duffy. I greatly respect our Poet Laureate, but I’m unsure that this poem (Anne Hathaway) is as “marvellous” as Bob claims. But one thing for sure, his song works: it’s an improvement on the poem, with daughter Alice doing a sterling job on vocals, and Bob adding touching harmony.

Finally, yes, it’s a thumbs-up from me for a purchase. Not least for Bob’s liner notes. Get this, re Track 4, Fickle As The Moon: “At what now seems an obviously too early age, I made a large investment in the Bank of Love, and very quickly, the interest rate plummeted (at least on the part of the lady concerned).”

Now Bob, if you want to know what “marvellous” is, look no further than your own words there.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 139 of The Living Tradition magazine