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NICK DOW - Far And Wide

NICK DOW - Far And Wide
Old House Music OHM810

What you get is what it says on the box – “unaccompanied traditional folk songs”. In these times when recorded songs from professional singers working the circuit and the scene tend to over-egg the accompaniment and arrangements, this offering comes as a refreshing alternative. Nick is no mean guitarist, so why choose to record an unaccompanied set? The notes faithfully record Nick’s sources but there is no indication of his purpose. But there is a simple honesty in these recordings: everything from epic ballads such as Prince Heathen or The Unquiet Grave, to classic folk songs such as Searching For Lambs or The Royal Oak.

The 14 tracks are all sung with great clarity and commitment, in Nick’s distinctive style - and that is, perhaps, the key to this CD: there is no compromise and the texts are allowed to capture the listener and draw him, or her, into what is being sung. Wonder of wonders - that is exactly what the old collectors discovered, and what excited a great many of my generation when they discovered folk music and ‘source’ singers. This is definitely not background music.

The packaging is simple and feels cheap, but it hardly matters. The production might have benefited from a less close microphone. Overall there is a home-made feeling about the whole package but this does not detract from the value of the CD as a collection of genuine well sung folk songs and as a record of Nick Dow’s art.

Tom Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.