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JOHN KIRKPATRICK - Every Mortal Place

JOHN KIRKPATRICK - Every Mortal Place
Fledg’ling Records FLED3089

There can’t be many of us who would disagree with Shirley Collins that John Kirkpatrick represents “English music’s Mighty Heart of Oak”. The English traditional music scene of the last four decades would be a poorer place indeed without this man’s music and general joie-de-vivre. He’s had his fingers in so many musical pies one wonders that he gets any time at home whatsoever – so maybe this collection of tunes and songs from his long-adopted abode of Shropshire is a way of making up for all those lonely days stranded on a BBC Victorian farm.

Every Mortal Place has all the rotund jollity of a Hogarthian illustration and is populated with an array of equally colourful characters. There’s the Waterloo bombast of The Pompalarie Jig, all military chromatics until the poignant sting in the tail; the braggadocio of the robbed-turned-robber in The Packman’s Staff, and the rip-roaring music-hall rollicker Tommy Suet’s Ball. There are also beautifully rendered Shopshire strains of widely known songs Lord Randal and Under The Leaves Of Life, and a musical setting of A Shropshire Lad (Betjeman, not Housman, about local hero Matthew Webb). Tunewise, of course no-one can pull and push quite like John; and there is a veritable banquet of Shropshire tunes courtesy of various Anglo concertinas, melodeons and button accordions. All this and a marvellous set of sleeve notes. Hurrah! Every mortal home should have a copy of this.

Clare Button


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.