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ROGER PUGH - A Colourful Journey

ROGER PUGH - A Colourful Journey
Oblong Records OBLCD079

This album is a fusion of styles - a cross between elements of Mumford and Sons (with less edge) and material to be found on BBC Radio Two. As a folk musician and composer, Roger Pugh has a lifetime’s experience and influence, all of which are evident in spades on this diverse eclectic CD. The subject material is wide ranging, drawing from a variety of sources: Roger’s folk opera, A Minstrel’s Tale; chance discoveries of memorials worthy of a song; annual events; and the natural empathy of family. With 16 talented musicians to draw from, including Pete Morton, Roger Wilson, Chris Conway and Carole Palmer, the musicianship is quite superb in all aspects. There is an overall folk-rock style to the music, which is most evident by the use of flutes and whistles that rise above the normal and general background of electric guitar, fiddle, mandola and drums.

Roger Pugh’s inspiration for A Colourful Journey is a take on his own personal journey. However, in my view, his strength lies as a composer of music. A Romp Through The Barley and Pulling Ragwort are two instrumental tracks with strong inventive melody and great arrangements that really stand out head and shoulders above much of the material here. Whilst some of the tracks gleaned from his folk opera sit perfectly well within the track-list, I found the inclusion of The Day Before The Hanging incompatible with the main body of the work - a cautionary warning about shoehorning.

Three years in the making, A Colourful Journey aspires to excellence, which at times it certainly achieves. If you are looking for pure folk, then the CD will disappoint, but if you want an album of pleasing music then you won’t go far wrong with this CD.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.