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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Voices in Harmony" Fellside FECD158

This is a companion piece to Fellside's earlier 'Voices' CD and is again a collection of traditional English songs sung unaccompanied, but here they are sung in harmony, with twenty-five tracks featuring the very best of the groups of unaccompanied harmony singers that emerged from the revival. The big names are here, The Watersons 'Souling Song'; 'Go From My Window' from Swan Arcade; and The Young Tradition's masterful 'Shepherds Arise'. But, despite some artists appearing in more than one guise, no group has more than one track, and there is a wealth of fine harmonies from some slightly lesser known singers. There are duos, trios, four-piece and more, with a wide range of approaches to, and structures of, the harmonies - no two groups on this recording have the same sound, or the same delivery, but all are extremely accomplished singers. Yorkshire Relish (Derek, Dorothy and Nadine Elliott) perform Kit Jones' version of 'The Old Cock Crows'; The Tees-side Fettlers do Jack Elliott's 'Rap Her T'Bank'; Johnny Collins and Chorus are simply grand on 'Green Grow the Laurels'; and Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman's 'Constant Lovers' is magic.

It is a little sad to see that many of the tracks in this collection are from the archives, but with material from Topic; Old & New Traditions; Fledg'ling; No Master's Voice; Brewhouse; and Fellside's own labels, 'Voices in Harmony' is not exhaustive, but it is a comprehensive illustration of revivalist harmony singing in the English tradition - an enjoyable and essential CD.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.