JIM CAUSLEY - Fruits of the Earth
Wild Goose WGS326CD

Fruits of the Earth is an excellent CD of English style traditional singing. Most of the songs are, “Trad Arr. Cauley”, and are either little known or unusual versions of better-known songs. There are also a couple of strong original compositions. This is a good CD for anyone looking for new material.

Jim’s mature voice is well suited to his choice of material both when singing unaccompanied, or with the appropriate accompaniment provided by himself on accordion and diddycordion, Jim Dumbelton on harmony vocals, guitar, mandolin, crowdy-crawn and snaky cans and John Dipper on fiddle (Please note that these strange instruments are listed in the notes – I didn’t make them up!). Jenny Sartin and Doug Bailey guest with chorus vocals on one of the unknown songs, unknown to me anyway, ‘The Whimple Wassail’.

The whole CD has an authentic traditional sound, a little old-fashioned by today’s more “flashy” standards; indeed it reminds me in places of the recordings of some traditional singers, a compliment to Jim’s interpretation of the songs. His voice, the sympathetic instrumentation, the choice of songs, and the pace at which everything is taken all lend themselves to this feeling of authenticity.

This is not to say that Jim Causley is not original – he is. I think everything works so well on this CD, but to sound one note of caution, and as with a lot of traditional English singing, ‘Fruits of the Earth’ is not generally a jolly singalong affair. It may be a little hard going for some at first, but I assure you that each playing will reward the listener. A very enjoyable CD.

Danny Saunders

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This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.