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VARIOUS ARTISTS - Traditional Songs Of Britain And Ireland 

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Traditional Songs Of Britain And Ireland 
Saydisc CDSDL450 

This double CD is the most recent offering from Saydisc recycling their material. A total of 45 tracks split equally between the four nations and drawing on previous Saydisc albums such as Traditional Songs Of England, Traditional Songs Of Ireland, Traditional Songs Of Scotland and Traditional Songs Of Wales – you get the gist!

The whole section representing Wales draws on one CD by the late Siwsann George, save one track which is sung by a Cornishman. That is the Gower Wassail, which was given to Charlie Bate by Phil Tanner himself. The recording was made by Peter Kennedy who insisted on recording Charlie although, at the time, he was ill in bed. This narrow selection hardly does justice to Welsh performers overall. This is not to decry Siwsann’s singing which is fine as ever. The other nations have a wider representation. England ranging from Bob Roberts to Fred Wedlock; Ireland from Margaret Barry to the McPeakes; Scotland from (predominantly) Ray Fisher to Davie Stewart. One anomaly appears to be the appearance of Gef Lucena in England, Ireland and Scotland – until one realises that he is the founder of Saydisc.

The tracks cover an eclectic range of performers, styles and age of recordings. Overall these give a fair and well-performed representation of the traditional songs of the four nations. If you already have the Saydisc CDs from which these albums draw, you will not be wanting to duplicate the material. If you don’t, then this is a wide-ranging but not exceptional introduction to what the title claims.

Tom Brown


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine