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TYBURN ROAD - Rogues And Rovers 

TYBURN ROAD - Rogues And Rovers 
Serpent Press SER013 

Rogues And Rovers is the latest thematic venture of Tyburn Road, alias the long-established pairing of Ian Giles and Dave Townsend, those Oxfordshire-based singers and squeezeboxers of high renown (Dave is the English Concertina specialist, while Ian plays the two-row melodeon).

Since rogues and rovers are staples of traditional song, it’s no surprise to find the disc’s tracklist neatly sub-divided into three categories: Rakes, Sailors and Country Pursuits. The individual selections aren’t always the most obvious choices, which makes the disc doubly attractive for the folk enthusiast. Rakes includes an original song by Ian, Isaac Darkin, telling the true story of a highwayman hanged in 1761, and an original setting by Dave of the irreverent Robert Service poem, Battered Old Accordion. The central section Sailors begins with a sequence of shanties, suitably jauntily rendered with squeezebox backing and The Eynsham Crew providing a lusty chorus; after a compulsory Dance And Skylark, they return for Ranzo variant, The Bully Boat. Occasionally a rogue morris tune will sneak into the proceedings, and there’s also a fine a cappella take on Weary Whaling Grounds. Country Pursuits range from The Sheep Stealer (solo unaccompanied) to the risqué No Sir No and The Jolly Young Waterman from Charles Dibdin’s copious catalogue. The chorus returns for the finale, Lake District hunting song, The Ullswater Pack.

It’s clear that Ian and Dave still greatly relish bringing to life these songs and tunes with brilliantly stylish accompaniments – and this fun is readily shared with their listeners.

David Kidman


This review appeared in Issue 129 of The Living Tradition magazine