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MARTYN WYNDHAM-READ and NO MAN'S BAND - Oceans in the Sky.
Fellside FECD197

In his travels round the folk clubs over the last thirty years Martyn Wyndham-Read must have heard hundreds of singer-writers doing their floor spots and with his ear for a good song he has collected some of these and added them to his repertoire.

Oceans in the sky contains material by eight people who are unknown to me - plus tracks by the rather better known Eric Bogle, Cyril Tawney and Henry Lawson.

Some of the songs on the album deal with classic Wyndham-Read themes of exile and nostalgia - Derek Moule's Across the Miles, Stan Graham's These are my dreams, Miggy Campbell's Days of summer, Lawrence Dean's Beyond the Distant Hills and Steve Peters' Slaughterhouse Drover. Mike O'Connor's haunting Last Song is one of the album's outstanding tracks and I liked Jane Coombs's perky Foxes Go Hunting. Knocked Up is a setting by Martyn of one of Henry Lawson's nature poems, Eric Bogle's Standing in the Light is a song in praise of a mother's love, and I have always regarded Cyril Tawney's Suit of Grey as one of his finest songs.

Martyn's voice is as supple and sensitive as ever and I liked the accompaniment by No Man's Band, especially the fiddle playing of John Dipper.

Howard Baker

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This album was reviewed in Issue 66 of The Living Tradition magazine.