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HOBSONíS VOICE - Town And Gown Folk

HOBSONíS VOICE - Town And Gown Folk
Private Label

This collection of songs from the pen of John Rees does what it says on the tin - “stories-in-song which tell you a little more about our city and shire (Cambridge).” Inherent by the hearty delivery and performance of these songs, there is an obvious pride and connection to the material. The songs are played with gusto on a variety of musical instruments and simply rattle along one after another. Adding to the joyful mix, recorders and flutes, ukuleles, kazoos and guitars jostle for position side by side.

As a composer, John Rees has created songs that, whilst proficient, probably have more significance and meaning to the local population of Cambridge than anywhere else. The tunes themselves are competent but rarely surprising and at times the words can be somewhat trite and contrived. That said, this style of folk song is the main stay of a certain type of folk singer to be heard in many a folk club the length and breadth of the country. A future collection could possibly feature the ghostly apparition of a fat tabby Cambridgeshire cat. Let’s All Go Mayladying is a fine tune reminiscent of an 18th century country dance band. With a nod towards the tune of Lord Franklin, and ably supported by The Cottenham Brass Band, The Fields Of Cambridgeshire is a serious and moving attempt to honour the men of the RAF who perished on the 17th of December 1943 whilst attempting to return to fog bound England. Cambridge Blue is a localised pub chorus song which I am sure is in much demand in the area.

In the main, with a few notable exceptions, the treatment here is relatively light in terms of gravitas; only time will tell if any of this material will leave Cambridgeshire and the Fens to survive in the main stream.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 111 of The Living Tradition magazine.