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CAFFREY / McGURK - Transition

CAFFREY / McGURK - Transition
Private Label C&M002

Nick Caffrey and Ed McGurk have graced the Lancashire folk scene for many a long year. They first duetted as Litany at Clitheroe Folk Club in the 70s. Now they’ve come together again with this welcome album of songs that are either from the tradition or maturing into it. They sing solo or in harmony, unaccompanied or with Ed on guitar and whistles. Francis Roe plays concertina on four songs. Brian Bedford’s production is excellent.

The 55-minute set of songs is unpretentious and accomplished, the product of patiently acquired taste and understanding - the sort of thing I took almost for granted on a good folk club night but now prize as it gets harder to find. The twin peaks for me are Ed singing Davy Stewart’s Farewell To The Haven and Nick’s unaccompanied singing of The Braes Of Yarrow. (You do keep back copies of TLT, don’t you? If you look in Issues 46 to 58 you’ll find Nick’s series on traditional ballads. He knows his stuff.) Along with old friends like A Soulin’, Benjamin Bowmaneer, and John Connelly’s Fiddler’s Green, there are rarer pleasures. From The North and A Lancashire Hare are from poems by a young Cicely Fox Smith before she became known for her maritime themes. Hearing Owen Hand’s My Donal (paired with Weary Whaling Ground) had me rummaging through my collection to find it on a 1986 cassette from Janet Russell and Christine Kydd. More rummaging was necessary for Jim Herd’s She Touched You, about a travelling folk musician beguiled by a girl: vinyl this time – Furey Brothers and Davy Arthur’s Morning On A Distant Shore from 1977.

Yes, Transition got me rummaging and got me reflecting on passing times and fashions. I seem to share vintage and interests with Nick and Ed. I haven’t seen them play, but I’ll put that right the first chance I get.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.