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WENDY ARROWSMITH - Life, Love & Chocolate

WENDY ARROWSMITH - Life, Love & Chocolate
Wee Dog Records  WDR001

This is an album of mainly self-penned songs which for some reason reminded me of the seventies singer-songwriter Shelagh McDonald. The biggest difference is in the accompaniment. While the McDonald albums have music typical of their era, put together by various members of the Fotheringport ensemble, the Arrowsmith songs are coloured in a much more modern folk style, with mandolins, pipes, violins and so on.

The bulk of the tracks are songs written by the singer; some not obviously in the folk style when they stand alone, but together perfectly acceptable as, say, a festival set. Perhaps it is me being contrary, but I find the best song a long 'bonus' track, called The Visitor, telling what I think is the true story of a 19th century lifeboat rescue which began with the Whitby boat being hauled several miles overland to a safe launching point.

Sweeter By the Day tells of the recent political and union problems following the American takeover of Cadbury's, while Riding Officer deals with the men recruited to combat 18th century smugglers, who usually get the romantic kudos for themselves.

It's all a bit different from purely traditional albums, but a fun and tasteful set of music nonetheless.

Bob Harragan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 90 of The Living Tradition magazine.