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HARRY BOARDMAN - Golden Stream 

HARRY BOARDMAN - Golden Stream 
Epona Records EPO022 

A very welcome CD issue for the late, great Lancashire singer’s 1978 masterpiece, released originally as a small-label LP that passed many people by. This is Harry Boardman’s finest hour and – in your reviewer’s humble opinion - probably the best album of Lancashire folk music ever made.

Golden Stream has everything, from Harry’s trademark industrial broadsides like Handloom v Powerloom and The Cotton Lords Of Preston to regional instrumental music accompanied by a fine band of local musicians, including pioneering renditions of the now ubiquitous 3:2 hornpipes. Harry’s unaccompanied Hard Times is powerful social comment, while his recitation of Harvey Kershaw’s wry dialect poem Drawin’ t’ Rents is beautifully judged, and the medley of kids’ songs very amusing. The abiding impression is the sense of sheer fun that bursts forth, especially on the slightly ramshackle but potent ensemble performances like Ashton Mashers, Alterations and Three Jolly Boys. As if the original cuts weren’t enough, there are two bonus tracks from live performances in the 1980s, including the much-loved Cold Stringy Pie with characteristic intro banter, and some nice photos of Harry in action, added to the original cover design. Full marks to Epona Records for making available a recording I’ve loved for many years.

Brian Peters


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine