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Private Label SRCD04

The Mightiness arises from augmenting the Doonan Family band with younger scions Frances, Rosie, Ben (Murray) and Jamie (Luckley). The resulting inter-generational nonet (four youngsters and five, er, older folk!) is indeed, in the main, a powerful folk rock band, although not without sophistication; a sort of Tyneside ‘Convention’, then, with big band attitude.

The range of instrumentation is wide – Irish pipes, piccolo, flute, sax, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and bass, melodeon, keyboards, and drums – and with singers ranging from Mick Doonan to Rosie Doonan (and Ben Murray), their dynamic and tonal opportunities vocally are obviously considerable! There’s a party feeling to some of the big chunky, and slightly funky, arrangements (to which there’s a recurrent echo of Madness’ brassy humour). However, the prevailing folk rock party has a slow dance moment in the middle with Rosie’s Heart Of Stone – a gentle and exquisite song interlude underpinned with piano – and her atmospheric duet rendition of When Cockle Shells (Turn Silver Bells) likewise offers a mellow mood shift.

Traditional songs undergoing rearrangement include Step It Out Mary (with its rather arresting refrain “show your legs to the country man”), Ramblin’ Siuler, and Banks Of The Nile. The covers embrace Northumbrian coalmining material from Ed Pickford (Ey Aye Aa Cud Hew; Johnny Miner), Ray Davies’ Dead End Street, Cyril Tawney’s Chicken On A Raft (rich with its grey funnel line jargon including the toasted breakfast offering of the title), and a poignantly pleasing version of Ewan MacColl’s Cannily Cannily, movingly sung by Rosie.

Kevin T. Ward


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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.