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Steeplejack Music SJCD015

Does your granny always tell ya that the old songs are the best? Your answer to Noddy Holder’s question in Merry Xmas Everybody is probably “Yes, and I’m a folkie so I agree.” You won’t mind that Broom Bezzums’ themed album of winter and Christmas songs includes hoary favourites like The Cherry Tree Carol, A Soulin’, Rain And Snow, Wassail Song, Good King Wenceslas, and The Snows They Melt The Soonest…. as well as that Slade classic.

Mark Bloomer and Andrew Cadie bring a bracing vigour to the project which reflects the brio of their live performances. They are well-travelled singers and multi-instrumentalists with three earlier albums in their rucksacks. Their reputation has spread through hard touring in Britain and Germany, including two supporting Show Of Hands. Mark (guitar, mandola, bass drum, etc) has taken the bendy road to folk music. Andrew (fiddle, Northumbrian pipes etc) has a more traditional background. Their close understanding shows on two bravura instrumentals: Christmas Day In Da Morning / Mug Of Brown Ale matches Shetland tune to Northumbrian jig; and Stanhope In Weardale / New Christmas Day brings in Andy May on Northumbrian pipes. Andrew and Andy have both done time in Jez Lowe’s Bad Pennies. Katie Doherty, an occasional Bezzum, sings on Sea Salt And Coal, her own lively song about a spectral Twelfth Night party. She brings another North East connection, as she and Andrew met on the Folk and Traditional Music course at Newcastle University. Some songs feature all three Bezzums in impressive harmony.

The closing song reminds us where they found their name. Buy Broom Bezzums is a Scots song I first heard performed too long ago by Janet Russell and Christine Kydd. It’s included as a Christmas present for fans who have been asking for it.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.