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CHARLIE BRIDGER - Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers? 

CHARLIE BRIDGER - Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers? 
Musical Traditions MTCD377 

Those of us who were involved in running folk clubs in Sussex were very fortunate to have that icon, Bob Copper, living amongst us. Partly through him, we found that there were still some older singers with traditional songs in their pub-singing repertoire. Several organisers, including this one, were keen to invite them to sing at their clubs. What we found was that the singers had a mixed repertoire that was only partly folk song; Andy Turner found the same in the neighbouring county of Kent when his research brought him to the door of Charlie Bridger of Stone-in-Oxney in the early the early 1980s. A very welcoming and willing Charlie recorded the 28 songs that are included here over a number of visits. His fine sure voice singing and his interesting and varied repertoire make this album a worthy addition to Rod Stradling’s excellent label.

It is interesting that quite a number of songs heard here were also in the repertoire of George Spicer who is regarded as a Sussex singer but who grew up in Little Chart only 14 miles from Stone. One song that is in both repertoires, The Folkstone Murder, is probably the most engaging here and even to come up with a snatch that is unknown to the Roud Index is quite an achievement.

As we expect from MT releases, the 24-page booklet is excellent. Andy's introductory essay and the transcription of an interview are both full of interest. As usual full transcriptions of all the song words are included along with background notes on them all.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine