This is an intriguing ‘new’ recording artist. I say ‘new’ because although Glen Peters has been notable around the folk scene in Wales since the 1970s, this is his first actual recording. I was immediately struck by his gently penetrating vocals and the quality of the musicianship on this CD. He's augmented by Eliza Carthy, Angharad Jenkins and George Whitfield, but Glen's own abilities are also to the fore. I was very impressed with his lovely octave mandolin on Shakespeare’s poem/song: Fear No More.
The standout track for me is Let No Man Steal Your Thyme. Glen plays the shruti here. It’s an Indian instrument, that slows the song down and gives it unusual resonance - making it obvious this is not merely a song about a bunch of herbs! This track is a keeper, for sure.
Glen has written several political songs on this CD - with topics ranging from the drowning of the young Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach a couple of years ago, the deaths of cockle-pickers in Morecombe Bay - Slaving For Your Craving (great song title!) - to Tony Blair’s decision to invade Iraq. Glen is particularly interested in promoting solar energy, so two of his songs pertain to that topic. He is also drawn to comedy songs from earlier times, including There’s Bound To Be A Row, and the very amusing music-hall song, He Used To Sing In His Sleep (But He Sleeps Alone Now.) However, I was less enchanted with She Does Like A Little Bit of Scotch. It’s another music-hall offering, ably-presented - complete with Mrs Doubtfire accent - but I feel that ditties from a century ago, which rely on inaccurate cultural stereotypes as the main source of amusement, are probably best consigned to musical archives, rather than an active repertoire.
That being said, this CD is well worth a listen. Glen’s choice of material is a unique mix, his pleasantly penetrating voice attracts immediate interest, and the accompaniment to these songs is never overdone. I know it’s his first recording, but I do hope it won’t be his last. As an added bonus, sale proceeds go to the UNICEF global vaccination programme… certainly a worthy cause in these times.
This review appeared in Issue 143 of The Living Tradition magazine