Link to Living Tradition Homepage





DOM PRAG - Needle & Thread 

DOM PRAG - Needle & Thread 
Private Label 

This is his second CD, and it is one that passes the famous ‘second album test’ with flying colours. The boy doesn’t put a foot wrong in a varied selection of self-penned and traditional songs, with a couple of ‘Pitman Poet’ Tommy Armstrong songs thrown in for good measure. It is produced by Phil Beer, and having his imprimatur on an album tells you something: that man has the folk nous to usually back winners.

Dom sings well, in a voice redolent of the young Al Stewart, and is joined by some talented musicians who lend nuanced support to his outstanding guitar work. I particularly enjoyed the magisterial cello of Joely Koos on track eight, and the fiddles of Phil Beer and Rowan Piggott; and the vocal harmonies from the last named (along with Rosie Hodgson).

Every track paid its rent in the album, but to my ear, the three I most enjoyed were the traditional account of the Luddite attack on Foster’s Mill, to which he adds three verses of his own; and Tommy Armstrong’s South Medomsley Strike (which I have not heard done with such verve in 40 years, which was back when the great Bob Davenport first blew me away with it). Re the former song: isn’t it fascinating how many such songs take the understandable line of supporting the soon to be starving Luddites? I wonder though: if today’s Usdaw were a more militant union and started letting down tyres on Amazon delivery vans, would today’s songwriters be so supportive of the cause?

But the song he really hits paydirt with is Needle & Thread, the magnificent self-penned title song which closes the album. He wrote the song in the realisation that sometimes he is powerless to find answers to major social problems, and he says in his excellent liner notes that at such times “I cultivate the sanctuary of my own mind”. Wow! What a phrase.

And what a mind.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 142 of The Living Tradition magazine