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EDWARD II - Manchesterís Improving Daily

EDWARD II - Manchesterís Improving Daily
Cadiz Music E2MID1819

The first thing you notice about this welcome offering from EII is the packaging, larger than usual to accommodate a 46 page informative, high quality booklet. Lots of effort has gone into this so it is a bit of a shame that a plastic CD holder was used as mine has lost some of the teeth.

There seems to be a fashion at the moment for theme/project based albums - The C# Project, Songs Of Separation, The Elizabethan Session, The Full English, to name but a few. Manchester’s Improving Daily is inspired by the band’s discovery of The Manchester Broadsides and their background. These Broadsides were created during the industrial revolution and tell of the variety of experiences of the 19th century and were produced as cheaply as possible, so to be accessible to many. They were designed to have a short shelf life, so it is surprising that so many are relevant today.

Stand out tracks, for me, are Victoria Bridge, Kersal Moor and The Great Flood and the surprise inclusion of Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town and New Order’s Love Vigilantes, together with Jenifer Reid’s intro to Victoria Bridge, which shows just how the two versions fit together perfectly.

As with all these types of projects, it is a worry that the whole will be less than the individual parts, but this is fresh and still relevant today. In fact, that’s the message behind Manchester’s Improving Daily - we can learn from history some 200 years later. What was important then is still important today - more is the pity.

Back to the booklet. It’s well written with good illustrations and informative text that stands up on its own. The two contrasting pictures showing the scale of industrialisation as seen from Kersal Moor are especially interesting, if not shocking, serving as a warning today as we destroy our green belt. This is a must for any Edward II fans, anyone who likes good music, or anyone who wants something to get their teeth into.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 115 of The Living Tradition magazine.