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BARBARA DICKSON - B4 Seventy-Four: The Folk Club Tapes

BARBARA DICKSON - B4 Seventy-Four: The Folk Club Tapes
Chariot Music CTVP006CD

Barbara Dickson is a seriously important person - a multi-million selling recording artist, a star of TV and theatre, an Olivier award winner and with an OBE for services to music. You only have to look at the venues for her Autumn 2013 tour, a mixture of large concert halls and theatres, to see just how popular she is. Her theatre credits include starring in Blood Brothers and Chess, whilst her TV work includes Band Of Gold and Viv Nicholson in Spend Spend Spend. Barbara has also had hit singles including Another Suitcase and a string of successful albums. So why is this compilation of 40 year old live recordings being released?

That’s what puzzled me when I started listening. The recordings are from tapes her mum found when clearing some stuff out. A conversation with Rab Noakes followed. The tapes were baked and this double CD is the result. A quick look down the track listing shows lots of old favourites for people now of a certain age, some of which are now being rediscovered by a new breed of singers. There’s a mixture ranging from old bothy ballads to newly composed material by the likes of Gerry Rafferty, with collaborations with the likes of The McCalmans and Martin Carthy.

But it is only when you start listening you begin to realise why it was important to release this previously unheard material to a wider audience. Forget the variable quality of the recording and listen to the excellent quality of performance given by Barbara. The love and respect she has for the songs is evident for all to hear and the sheer power of her voice is a real eye-opener. She still has that love as was evident in the unaccompanied version of Will Ye Gang Love on her previous CD.

So, some great versions of some great songs. A good find on her mum’s part (with contributions from a few others as the project developed) and well worth a listen.

Dave Beeby

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