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JACK RUTTER - Gold Of Scar And Shale 

JACK RUTTER - Gold Of Scar And Shale 
Private Label RUTTCD025 

Jack Rutter obtained his degree from Newcastle University… No, not from the Traditional Music course; his degree was a BSc in Countryside Management, and a particular love of the rural areas of Yorkshire and the north comes through in the choice of songs on this, his second album.

His settings of dialect poems are very pleasing, particularly of Ammon Wrigley’s The Hills Of Longdendale, but it is the traditional songs that generate most interest because he has uncovered some gems that are rarely or never heard. At the forefront of these is a fine but neglected ballad, Fair Janet And Young James (Child 64), and he proves to be a fine singer of ballads with his interpretation. On the following track, The Brundeanlaws, he ups the tempo with a bothy ballad, not from the North-East but from a farm six miles south of Jedburgh and, again, it is a winner, as are two more rarities, The Sledmere Poachers and Down By The Derwent Side. Jack has written his own tunes for several of the traditional songs here. Generally, these work well, but it is difficult to disassociate the words of The Shepherd’s Song with the fine tune that carried Willie Scott’s singing of it. All the songs are accompanied, mainly by Jack, on stringed instruments or by Sam Sweeney’s fiddle and Alice Robinson’s Northumbrian pipes.

Jack has been mainly heard as a member of that fine trio, Moore, Moss, Rutter, but this release shows he has a great deal going for him in every department.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine