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LOWP - Drive Away Dull Care

LOWP - Drive Away Dull Care
Private Label LOWPMUSICCD001

Lowp is a five-piece band which has been busy on the North East folk scene since their 2010 debut. The songs and tunes on their first album reflect not only their Tyneside upbringing but also imported influences from Ireland and the Borders. Their playing is very tight: Ian Gelston’s pipes and Stephen Pratt’s flute lead the melodies, with Peter Brown’s fiddle, David Harrison’s mandolin and mandola, and Ben Hudson’s guitar and bouzouki in strong support.

Ben is an experienced singer who delivers the songs clearly and simply. Tally I-O The Grinder and Cuddle In, Me Darling are Tyneside songs. Willie Wastle, about an ugly wife, is included because Stephen’s Berwickshire ancestors were Wastles. It’s followed by the tune Sic A Wife As Willie Had. Echo Mocks The Corncrake is a sweet Ayrshire song from the singing of Sheila Stewart. I was less taken with a short version of the gruesome but popular Long Lankin, which left out the murderer’s motivation. I was interested to discover the theory that it all happened at Welton Hall in Horsley, some 10 miles west of Newcastle.

Lowp means to leap or jump about, and the way the band plays is conducive to this. Most of the songs are followed by tunes. Of the sets of tunes, I particularly enjoyed the Rusty Gully set of Northumbrian tunes, and the closing set of Breton tunes (I recognised the first tune, Ev Chistr ‘Ta Laou, as the one used by Martin Carthy for Willie’s Lady).

The ending comes too quickly, as the album lasts only 29 minutes. The notes describe it as a small sample of what the band plays. More would have been welcome, as what there is goes down very nicely.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 122 of The Living Tradition magazine.