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Sandwitch
Kim Guy
Chris Ricketts & Mark Willshire
Tinkerscuss

Sandwitch

Going 4th-On to New Horizons

Sandwitch are husband and wife team Andrea and Buddy Freebury. In that sandwich is a wealth of experience including three previous albums and numerous gigs at folk clubs and festivals; most notably Cropredy by personal invitation of Dave Pegg. They have been a bit quiet recently due to the need to actually earn a living but have found time to create a new album.

We are treated to a few old favourites like ‘The Blackleg Miner’ (sung with venom) and ‘Both Sides O’ the Tweed’ and Karine Polwart’s beautiful ‘The dreadful End of Marianna for Sorcery’. Most of the tracks are their own creations.

The gem for me is ‘My Father was a Hero.’ It is the haunting tale of Andrea’s father, a submariner, who could lose the wartime memories of death and destruction. Living with those memories is was made him a hero. What make this song even more poignant is the fact that Andrea is German; reminding us that most soldiers caught up in war are civilians in uniform, force into fighting by conscription, propaganda or national pride.

We are treated to a collection of tunes, ‘Aonach Eagach’, composed by Buddy and played on the flute describing the effect on him of a mountain ridge near Glen Coe. This epitomises the instrumental excellence shown by the couple throughout.

Each track is delivered with passion. A gentle passion where necessary or a vital passion where needed.

The title track joyfully bubbles giving us the philosophy behind this album. A new start, built on experience but looking for new challenges to overcome.

So there we have it. Two troubadours belatedly setting out on another tour of their musical world and inviting us to join them. I, for one, will be hitching a ride and suggest that you come along as well.

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Ken Miller

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Kim Guy

Wednesday’s Child

Kim is a member of various combos including Elowen whose album I reviewed last year. This album is pure Kim as she does all the singing, playing of instruments all the arrangements.

We start off with haunting traditional song ‘Rolling of the Stone’ and move onto ‘Watch me Bleed’ (Roland Orzabal, though not in his rock style), ‘The Sparrow’ Paul Simon, ‘Like a Hurricane’ (Neil Young) and ‘I Come and stand at Every Door’ (Hickmet/Seeger) one of the best tracks.

We are then treated to Kim playing the flute in ‘He moved’ and instrumental version of She Moved Through the fair.

The heart of the album is Richard Thompson’s ‘Dimming of the Day’ and Steve Knightley’s ‘Exile’ both exquisitely performed.

We finish up with ‘Blood and Gold’ (Irvine/Cassidy), ‘Unquiet Grave’ (traditional) and ‘Avenue of Hope’ (John Bramwell).

I don’t usually mention all the tracks on albums but it illustrates wide range of influences and the range of techniques she had to employ to make it all work. The selection of tracks is well balanced and creates a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

Kim’s work should come with a health warning. This album is quiet yet intensive and draws you into Kim’s intoxicating world of music. A journey I intend to make frequently.

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Ken Miller

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Chris Ricketts & Mark Willshire

Simple Folk

Chris Ricketts is one the rising stars of the folk world. Currently studying folk and traditional music at Newcastle University, a long way from his native Portsmouth. He is working with bassist Mark Willshire.

When I was a lad in the sixties and friends wanted to form a band, the bass was played by the worst guitarist or the lad who could not play anything and picked up the bass just to gat into the band. Today we have a new breed of bassist. Mark sounds like a good guitarist who specialises on the bass. His playing sometimes drives along the rhythm on the track and sometimes almost imperceptibly balances the tenor voice of Chris. However he plays it, it works.

There is a strong trans Atlantic influence to Chris’s music but he equally at home with American songs like ‘Chasing the Buffalo’ and good old English songs like ‘Tilbury Town’ and ‘Drunken Maidens.’ He even ventured into song writing with ‘Take me as your Own’, a song from the point of view of an abandoned child. An unusual subject but well written and sung in a way evokes a crying child.

The gem for me is ‘Which Side are you On?’ Florence Reece’s song about a miner’s strike in the U.S in the 30’s. As a daughter of and wife of miner’s she knew the woe of living through that time. Chris manages to transmit that woe through his treatment of the song.

Chris accompanies himself excellently on the guitar and with Mark’s bass we get a well balanced sound to a well chosen collection of songs.

Many people have commented on Chris’s potential. I think Chris, with Mark’s backing, could develop to the status of a Kris Drever or Seth Lakeman.



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Ken Miller

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Tinkerscuss

Nine Trees

Tinkerscuss are Cheltenham based Erin and Bryony Holden and Kathryn Wheeler.

This album takes us around their world with a meandering course that weaves its way through a few unusual traditions.

There is ‘Highland Widows Lament’ and then ‘Meriasek’ sung in Kernewek (Cornish) from the other end of the country.

One of the gems for me is the ‘Balefire Song’. It informs you of what woods should and should not be used to build these beacons and even mentions the fall (autumn) in common use here a couple of hundred years ago. It has all the components of a perfect traditional except one; it was written by Tinkerscuss.

This is followed by ‘Firethief’, that wonderful song written by Karine Polwart for the Radio Ballads. Then we are treated to ‘Black Sarah’ the Patron saint of the Roma. Yet another detour into an unusual tradition.

Linguistic talents are stretched again with two Gaelic songs ‘Duisg Mo Chridhe’ and ‘Hi O' He.’ Each convincingly sung as if by native Gaelic speakers.

They set their seal on their writing abilities with ‘The Selkie Mother’ and finish up Peggy Seeger’s ‘The Chickens Are A Crowing’; a possible reference to Bryony’s new venture of raising chickens in the back garden. I wonder which came first; the song or the chickens, or possibly the egg.

Each song is powerfully and beautifully sung and the varied instruments used support them perfectly.

This album, with its mixture of Gaelic, Cornish, other British and American songs, brings us a rich tapestry of folk music finely woven together by the talents Tinkerscuss,

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Ken Miller

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