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KEN NICOL - Historic Events And Other Subjects

KEN NICOL - Historic Events And Other Subjects
MVS Records MVSCD025

For those of us who are drawn to guitar based music, this is another consummate performance by Preston’s best exponent. Erstwhile Steeleye and Albion member, Ken first came to my attention in the North of England when I was the co-organizer of a folk club there, and he was one of a nucleus of artistes who always got asked back – without any need for coercion. Some twenty odd years later I am reminded of why. He’s quite simply the best all-rounder in the business. Great singer, multi-instrumentalist (but the guitar in its many variations is his and my favourite), and astounding songwriter. Oh and he also tutors as well, and can boast a number of published guides.

One track, Demon Of The Well, is an obvious refugee from Steeleye Span, as the arrangement suggests, and another, The Shot That Killed Three, a co-write with Phil Widdows is narrated as if lifted direct from a Preston broadside (or more likely the local rag). My personal favourite, though, has to be Let The Wind Blow My Prayers To Heaven, which prompts the listener to dwell on what is most important in this life. Despite the title, this is not a religious song – it’s about, people, peace and love.

There’s an extra track not listed – either an afterthought or an oversight on the part of the packagers – The Complete Banker, a punning rant about the financial wizards who did their level best to bring the collective economies of the West to their knees. If the message weren’t so serious, this jolly ditty would be an ideal way to polish off the album. Ah well, you takes your money (if the Bankers haven’t already…)

Grem Devlin


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This album was reviewed in Issue 95 of The Living Tradition magazine.