Jim Bainbridge

JIM BAINBRIDGE - Lights on the River
Furze Music 003CD

Jim Bainbridge entertains with the apparent ease of one playing for fun in his own backyard. He sings in a high pitched, sweet-toned voice, and plays his G/D melodeon with exemplary skill. When I listen to him play tunes I am reminded of the late, great, Bob Cann. Bob liked to put “a bit of a twiddle” into his playing but he also knew when not to. Our man is the same. He backs his own singing in a way that lets us hear the words without any distracting flashiness on the instrument and he sings in a straightforward, unassumingly direct manner, totally satisfying to one like me who likes his trees with the bark still on them.

What does he sing? As you might expect there is a strong north-eastern flavour, starting with ‘The Lambton Worm’, going on through ‘The Neibors Doon Belaa’, and others, ending with a corker from Ed Pickford called ‘The Gateshead Angel’. Freddie Mackay’s satirical ‘Fenian Record Player’, described as a “reply to The Old Orange Flute,” joins with Scots ballads learned from Willie Scott and Lizzie Higgins, and the Andrews Sisters 1940’s hit version of ‘Rum & Coca Cola’, to make up a diverse but satisfying programme enlivened further by a brief chorus of ‘Oh You Beautiful Doll’, and a ‘Trimdon Grange Explosion’ set to the tune its writer Tommy Armstrong specified. That last one being the highlight of the album in my opinion.

Much of this album was recorded before a live audience at The Davy Lamp folk club in Jim Bainbridge’s native North-East. Lucky customers.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 62 of The Living Tradition magazine.