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HARRY GREEN - The Fox And The Hare

HARRY GREEN - The Fox And The Hare
Veteran VT135CD

Essex would seem to have been overlooked by most of the early folk song collectors, with the notable exception of Ralph Vaughn Williams in the early 1900’s. Then in the 1960’s the renowned collector Fred Hamer recorded Harry Green in the village of Tilty near Bishops Stortford. It is these recordings that take start billing on The Fox And The Hare. Originally issued on cassette by Veteran in 1988 there are only 40 minutes material from Harry, to augment this Veteran have done everyone a great service by adding eight tracks from four other fine  Essex traditional singers, two each from Ernest Austin, “Sugar” Bailey, Stan Walters, and most interestingly Lorna Tarran. I expect that that Harry Green, Ernest Austin, and Sugar Bailey will be known to enthusiasts of traditional singing, if in name alone, but Stan Walters and Lorna Tarran might be new to most – a short but real treat.

The repertoire covered on this CD includes classic ballads, country songs and comic recitals, all giving a colourful insight into bygone Essex. The performances are exceptional given the age of the artists when the recordings were made – Harry Green was 93 in 1967.

Recordings of real English traditional singers are rare these days and The Fox And The Hare is a real gem. Everyone involved deserves much credit for what is a fine production. The booklet alone must have involved a great deal of research for what can only be minimal financial reward. Buy two and give one away – you will be doing someone a great favour.

Danny Saunders

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.