Down River Recordings : Live Volume 1

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This CD is a real treat. Recordings of live performances in the late 60s and 70s have been remastered from good-quality master tapes. In the process something of the goodwill of the era has survived, bringing back all the excitement of packed clubs, new interpretations and aromatic baccy.

For the collector, there's an unexpected Memphis Tennessee from Al Stewart (yes, The), a forgotten Barbara Allen by Vin Garbutt, a crisp Rider To The World's End by Pete Atkin and a subtle Waiting For The Lark by Bill Caddick. As a period piece, Keith Christmas's Ballad Of Robin Head follows Pacific Sky Dream, a super-delayed protest about nuclear testing by Nick Pickett. Imagine a floor spot from Frogmorton or Oak punctuated by the best of the local artistes, and you'll still have Hot Vultures lamming the Put Your Money In Your Shoes Blues and Mr Gladstone's Bag demolishing Victorian values in Firelock Stile in their quite inimitable way, their characteristic introduction preserved intact.

Given that these are club recordings, they're refreshingly free of coughs and extraneous noises while retaining the applause and bounce so hard to achieve in the studio. The range of music is so broadly representative of that committed and vibrant time, from trad to John Martyn's song Traffic Light Lady, that all but the most dyed-in-the-wool listener will find something to admire. Will there be  a similar CD recorded in the clubs of the Noughties? Let us hope common sense prevails. So a CD for the collector, the nostalgic and the social historian. But most of all, for the genuine fan.


Bob Kenward,
 Folk In Kent magazine

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