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TONI BUNNELL - Last Port Of Call 

TONI BUNNELL - Last Port Of Call 
Private Label BUN007 

This is the latest in the series of fine albums showcasing the honest and well-crafted work of York-based singer-songwriter Toni. She’s blessed with a strong and pleasing singing voice (which sometimes recalls that of Anne Lister), and a stylish and economic way of putting across her thoughts and stories, invariably imbued with a distinctly humanitarian sensibility. As well as drawing inspiration from specific people from history, she delights in recounting events from places where she’s lived over the years – The Village Waits tells of the changing life of a Lancashire mining community, for example – while other songs express her deeply rooted concern for environmental matters (All Over England tells of the constant battle to save the countryside, while Ode To Saddleworth Moor tells of summer 2018’s disastrous fire above the area’s villages). Call Of The Sea describes the dangers facing the men who take their boats out daily to fish, while the CD’s title song tells of another sea journey, when five migrants crossed over to England in a dinghy at Christmas 2018. The personal angle sometimes enters the picture too, as in Changes and Shadows From The Past, while The Tune celebrates the special brand of creativity that occurs at a musicians’ session. Another notable feature of Toni’s music is her skilled self-accompaniment on a variety of instruments – not only her melodic guitar style, but also her highly accomplished playing of Appalachian dulcimer, hurdy gurdy, harmonium and bouzouki. The CD’s packaging contains helpful song notes too.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine