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REG MEUROSS - 12 Silk Handkerchiefs 

REG MEUROSS - 12 Silk Handkerchiefs 
Hatsongs Records HAT013 

Those who are acquainted with me are aware of my views on ‘concept’ albums, which is a love/hate relationship biased towards the latter. Thus, it is with some trepidation that I approached a collection of prose and songs on a single subject – in this case the 1968 Hull Triple Trawler Disaster. Perhaps the fact that my mother hailed from an East Coast fishing community (Arbroath) has chimed with my subconscious to draw me into this song cycle.

Six songs with spoken introductions and a final reading comprise a tight 40-minute story that packs a real punch. Reg sings on the title track and on The Man The Sea Gave Back, while Sam Martyn gives solid vocals on I Am The Fish House Woman and Sleep You Safely. Mick McGarry sings Wash Her Man Away and John Barry Rogers, and also narrates the final Time & Tides. The narrator of the spoken intros is Brian Lavery.

Reg Meuross has written all the songs, and together they tell a compelling tale of the loss of three trawlers in successive weeks, events that cumulatively led ‘headscarf revolutionaries’ headed by Lillian Bilocca, to campaign successfully for health and safety improvements for the offshore fishing industry – countless lives have been saved by their actions.

Personally, I doubt if the songs necessarily lend themselves to being sung outside of this distinct context, but here they work well. I understand that a successful accompanying stage show will lead to a tour of this material, which is worth looking out for.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 127 of The Living Tradition magazine.