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CELTIC FERRET - For Love And Not For Gold 

CELTIC FERRET - For Love And Not For Gold 
Private Label FRT001 

Jean Reid and Ian Bartlett (aka Celtic Ferret) hale, currently, from Auckland, New Zealand and can be seen at the Titirangi Folk Music Club if you are passing that way. This CD contains a range of songs from the English tradition along with Alistair Hulett's Destitution Road (about the highland clearances) and a New Zealand song, The Brunner Mine (disaster), which cumulatively raise the body count in their repertoire.

The arrangements are straightforward with some notable harmony singing which is at its best in the unaccompanied songs, the opening track Oxplough Song being my favourite. I found the vocals on at least three tracks slightly 'clouded' by either too much presence on the guitar, or, owing to the limitations of a number of live recordings at the club, much as I liked the atmosphere. Ian's flute was just a tad out of tune with the guitar on The Poor Old Weaver's Daughter, but then flutes have a certain charm for being in tune at one pitch and of variable certainty at another. The CD has two instrumental sets which, whilst pleasantly played, would have 'lifted' if Ferret had used an innovative approach to employing Ian's Scottish smallpipes in the arrangements. Maybe next time. I have a soft spot for April Morning with which Celtic Ferret finish the CD. It has a great tune and the song is sung well. Other 'ferrets' seem to be adding harmonies on some tracks thanks to the facility of multi-tracking.

All in all, a CD which will no doubt please their followers, and should appeal to those in folksong clubs keen on harmony singing.

C.John Edwards


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine