VARIOUS ARTISTS - It Was on a Market Day
Veteran Records VTC6CD

Unaccompanied singing is not everyone’s glass of ale, so Veteran Records must be congratulated for releasing an album of twenty-eight unaccompanied songs. It is not going to be a ‘best-seller’, but for people who like going back to source material it will be invaluable.

A writer to a national newspaper recently put forward the view that England has no folk song tradition, which is nonsense of course, but it is true that we, England , sometimes feel under the shadow of countries such as Ireland with its unbroken tradition. The industrial revolution fractured and fragmented that tradition in parts of England and a new tradition of industrial song was created. It is significant that the singers on this album come mainly from areas untouched by heavy industry where the rural tradition was unbroken – Sussex , Somerset , Worcestershire, Suffolk among others.

Not all the songs – or singers – are to my liking but I greatly enjoyed the Sussex singer Bob Lewis and his ‘Bailiff’s Daughter of Islington, for me it’s the best track on the album. The album speaks of bygone days with plenty of rustic humour epitomised by Charlie Clissold’s, ‘Ledbury Clergyman’. Most of these songs and singers represent our English roots and this album will help to keep them alive.

Howard Baker

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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.