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JEZ LOWE - The Dillen Doll

JEZ LOWE - The Dillen Doll
Tantobie Records TTRCD117 Badapple Books ISBN: 9781999888800

Jez is one of our best-loved songwriters, and has clearly decided to return to singing traditional songs from North-East England. This is a useful reminder that he is such a fine interpreter of traditional songs. The cycle of songs is inspired in its choice by Jez’s debut novel that follows the fate of a beleaguered Dolly Coxon as she meets characters nice and nasty and runs up against the press gang (hence the song, Tender...“Here’s the tender comin’, pressin’ all the men...”. In fact, Dolly’s name is taken from the song, Do Li A, also on the CD. I heard it first from Bob Fox and Stu Luckley. There’s a very different take on the Carthy/Swarbrick favourite, Byker Hill, gentle and reflective (a mood that Jez does rather well!). Benny Graham, the Bad Pennies and Rachel Hamer are also involved, all lovely singers.

My only grumble with the whole package is that the guitar sound on some tracks is very “transducery” – give me a decent mic every time. But that’s just the prejudice of a guitar nerd coming through.

My advice is to buy the package – book and CD together. Then you can relish the way that Jez has woven places and people from well-known songs into his intriguing first novel.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 124 of The Living Tradition magazine.