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MUSIC Album reviews with Steve Johnson

Latest releases from Elizabeth and Jameson, Pete Morton and Jack Sharp

 

Elizabeth and Jameson
Northern Shores and Stories
(elizabethandjameson.co.uk)
★★★★

HANNAH ELIZABETH and Griff Jameson are both established musicians with differing backgrounds in traditional folk song and folk-rock.

Combining both these traditions, they've produced a debut album which draws on the musical heritage of the North Yorkshire coast, particularly the town of Whitby.

It's an impressive album of self-penned songs which explore the town's historical legends and it has a gentle and relaxing feel which, as the title suggests, transports the listener to the sound of waves ebbing and flowing.

Songs like How Long Has It Been and Bottomless Beer have a catchy feel needed in these times and Live by the Sea expresses the desire to escape the rat race.

Trips to the seaside might be off limits for many at the moment but listening to this album might give some hope for the future and, hopefully, there's more to come from this duo.

Pete Morton
A Golden Thread
(Further Records)
★★★★

THE TITLE track of this album is a cover of a Pete Seeger song — an appropriate choice, as what follows shows that long-standing folk troubadour Pete Morton is firmly in that same tradition of social and political songwriting.  

Like Seeger, Morton includes traditional songs in his repertoire and there is a good version of the old ballad Barbry Allan.

But it is his own topical songs which make the album, with Immigrant Child and Universal Basic Income reflecting on current issues, while Grenfell Carol pays tribute to the tower's residents and, in keeping with folk’s anti-war tradition, Yemeni Moon rages against gun runners

Including also a tribute to the poet Emily Dickinson, this is an uplifting album — a much-needed tonic in these lockdown times.

 

Jack Sharp
Good Times Older
(From Here Records)
★★★★

AFTER years of fronting psych-rock band Wolf People, singer and guitarist Jack Sharp has released his first solo album.

It consists mainly of traditional songs from his native Bedfordshire but with Sharp’s own arrangements, with The Maid’s Lament bemoaning the drudgery of a young girl's life, leavened with the hope of going out on Sunday.

Two poaching songs, Gamekeeper and Northamptonshire Poacher — usually from Lincolnshire in other versions — reflect what people had to do for survival regardless of what contemporary views might be on hunting animals for food. And Jug of This is a good drinking song, without which no traditional folk album would be complete.

Sharp's fine voice makes this a pleasurable album to listen to and, as a new direction musically, it has to count as a success.

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