VARIOUS ARTISTS - Heel & Toe: Songs, Tunes and Stepdances from the Sam Steele Collection.
Veteran VT150CD

I used to think folk music exotic. All those croaky old farm labourers whose songs were recorded for posterity from an alien world. They are catching up with me now. The source singers are now from the 1950s and 1960s, and their stories are starting to sound like scenes from my boyhood.

Veteran's latest offering of songs and tunes from East Anglia , tells the story of Reg Bacon, who went to the pub to sing songs he'd learned from gramaphone records at home. Not so different from my uncle who also lived in Saffron Walden and drove farmers lorries. He would often upset our suburban neighbours by turning up to visit my gran with a lorry load of squealing pigs who would slide to one end of the lorry as he drove away round the corner. He was a singer and dancer, all to popular song, at the raucous family dos on that side of the family. Only now I realise he was a folkie, though he didn't know it. These singers, musicians and dancers are just normal - the life and soul of the party.

Some of the most famous are represented on this selection lifted from the recordings made by teacher Sam Steele in the late 50s. There's the great fiddler, Walter Bulwer, and his pianist wife, Daisy, plus the clattering dulcimer playing of Billy Cooper, and at times they play together as well. Songs include a mouth-watering 'Outlandish Knight' from Hockey Feltwell, who also presents a dramatic version of 'Lamkin'. Reg Bacon sings, 'John Barleycorn', and, 'The Barley Mow', and there’s some lighter material in a music hall style, such as, Alan Pate's knockabout, 'Remember me to', and the, 'Bank of England', by Charlie Giddings.

Included is a nice little booklet that introduces the artists and supplies information on the songs as well. Your own party already bottled.

Bob Harragan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.