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JOHN RICHARDS - Bring Back The Spring 

JOHN RICHARDS - Bring Back The Spring 
Working Joe Music WJMCD2019 

John Richards says he’d thought he had said goodbye to recording when Mick Dolan (friend and producer of nearly all his work) died in 2014. However, finding he had a briefcase full of half-written songs helped get his mojo back to complete the songs, and then record some of them at Phil Beer’s studio in Devon.

John has been writing songs for half a century, and we have encountered his work through Robin Dransfield, Downes & Beer, Fairport, Damien Barber, Russell & Algar, and latterly Mike Silver. And thus we are familiar with a few of his songs, even if we cannot necessarily instantly name the songwriter.

On this album, he is joined by his band members: daughter Emma (Jones), multi instrumentalist Jim Sutton, Julia Disney on backing vocals and viola, Chris Drinan on flute and whistles; and given extra support by the aforementioned stellar trio of Messrs Beer, Downes and Silver (amongst others).

John has been a stalwart of the West Midlands folk scene for many years, and you realise why, when you hear him sing: he knows how to put a lyric across. But even his vocal talent cannot live with that of daughter Emma: gee, her voice speaks to my heart. And is never more effective on this album than on the best song: Hallsands, the story of a village lost to the sea. There are three songs co-written with Mike Silver that run it close, in an album which refreshingly runs the gamut in subject matter.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine