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MOIRAI - Framed: The Alice Wheeldon Story 

MOIRAI - Framed: The Alice Wheeldon Story 
Wildgoose Studios WGS433CD 

The spinners of destiny, Moirai is a group with an apt name, whose members lend their considerable talents and impressive pedigree to the subject matter of Framed. Drawn from a number of iconic groups including Blowzabella, All Blacked Up and Cupola to name but three, Jo Freya, Melanie Biggs and Sarah Matthews weave their combined musical talents to tell, in song, the little known story of Alice Wheeldon, her daughter Winnie Mason and son in law Alf Mason, who were convicted and imprisoned back in 1917 for a fabricated plot to assassinate Lloyd George and Arthur Henderson. There is not enough room to elaborate on the story in this short review, suffice it to say that I am not qualified to stand judge and jury, but it certainly seems to be the case that they became propaganda scapegoats for the sake of the war effort.

There are 20 tracks on the CD that trace in song the social background, the trial, the aftermath and consequences of the story. The original music has been crafted and collectively honed by the talented trio. The tunes are supported by fiddle, melodeon, saxophone, clarinet etc, and there are two more unusual sound bites - a bicycle bell and a cow toy!

This work is an interesting foray into the socio-political world of WW1, one of many such projects that explore and use the backdrop of the war to develop all manner of angles - from jingoism to the conscientious objector and the wasteful human carnage of the ‘war to end all wars’. In my view, work of this nature, much in the style of a Mick Ryan folk opera, cries out for a theatrical performance to accompany the musical element. And the final track on the CD, Ivy And Tulips, is a delight, and a song that might have legs beyond the CD itself.

John Oke Bartlett


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine