COOPE BOYES & SIMPSON – Coda (No Masters NMCD48)

CodaSubtitled A Concluding Event, Coda marks the beginning of the end for Coope Boyes & Simpson. They’ll be playing some gigs next year to say farewell and individually and collectively they are involved in numerous projects so I doubt we’ve seen the last of them. It’s hard to credit but they are all grandfathers and have been together as a trio for a quarter of a century but if this really is the end of the road it’s a damn good way to go out.

Coda feels very much like a CBS retrospective made up entirely of new songs. Themes and styles are drawn from every aspect of their career. The opening track, ‘The Avenging Angel’ is a lyric by Jim Boyes set to the tune of ‘Palms Of Victory’ – old hymn tunes are never too far away and there is much borrowing of traditional tunes here. The subject is the succession of wars in the Middle East and the song has the fire in its belly that was evident on their first album, Funny Old World.

From recent projects come ‘From Hereabout Hill/May Song’ sung in the Michael Morpurgo show Where My Wellies Take Me – another blend of modern and traditional – and Boo Hewerdine’s ‘The Man That I Am’, re-recorded from The Ballads Of Child Migration. The unadulterated tradition gives us ‘Napoleon’s Dream’ and ‘Flandyke Shore’ and Jim Boyes twice refers back to traditional themes. The first is ‘The Drovers’ Way’, a celebration of the green lanes that were the chief routes for moving livestock. There is a suggestion at the end that when everything goes pants the green lanes will reappear. The second is ‘The Bright Ploughshare’ which sounds a bit like the mythical rural idyll also seems to carry a warning for the future.

The trio takes a similar view of the fishing industry in ‘Bound By The Fishing’, playfully working in the names of musicians up and down the east coast. Lester Simpson’s ‘Twilight Hunter’ deconstructs Stan Rogers’ ‘Northwest  Passage’ as he considers the fate of the Inuit who are now becoming a tourist attraction and considers mass migration in ‘If We Were Them’. It’s not all deadly serious, however, and CBS return to Michael Marra with his delightfully surreal ‘Frida Kahlo’s Visit To The Taybridge Bar’.

There is directness to this album which takes the listener back to Barry, Jim and Lester’s early days as a trio. They have done much more complicated things: The Peace Concerts, Christmas shows, the Great War presentations and perhaps the ultimate in traditional singing that was Triple Echo but here we have three voices with those unmistakable harmonies aided only by “The No Master’s Voices” and you can guess who they might be. Coda is a glorious finale to a long career.

Dai Jeffries

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the COOPE BOYES & SIMPSON – Coda link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

ORDER – [CD]

Artists’ website: http://www.coopeboyesandsimpson.co.uk/

‘Anthem For A Planet’s Children’ – live:

Coope Boyes And Simpson – final album and farewell tour

Coope Boyes And Simpson

In 1993, three blokes from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with a name like a firm of solicitors, released an album of acappella songs full of social comment and (in the words of Folk Roots) ‘harmonies you could chew’.

They were, of course, Coope Boyes and Simpson, and the album was Funny Old World. Q Magazine named it as their Roots Album of the Year in 1994.

Now, twenty three years later, with a career that has encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson are set to release what will be their final studio album.

Coda will be a collection of songs, mainly self-penned or drawn from the tradition, covering issues such as refugees, Iraq and climate change. With an anger undimmed, Coope Boyes and Simpson are returning to their roots and completing the circle that started with Funny Old World.

The album is set for a September 2016 release, and Coope Boyes and Simpson will be undertaking a UK tour in October and November, with an album launch at Musicport.

May 2017 will see Coope Boyes and Simpson embark on their farewell tour at venues throughout the UK. The tour will be a celebration of their career, and will feature material from across their entire repertoire.

Coope, Simpson, Fraser and Freya: Hark Hark

CSFFHark Hark – a festive feast to send you into Christmas with a feelgood factor. A rich mixture of old and new with a firm foundation of traditional Yorkshire and Derbyshire carols, the album is augmented by spicy instrumentals showing the links between carols and dance tunes, along with humour, original songs and joyful instrumentals.

Christmas comes but once a year, which means we only get one chance annually to see the Coope, Simpson, Fraser & Freya Christmas show – a pity, since the eclectic, funny, poignant and clever mixture would work even stripped of its seasonal theme. Luckily, they are releasing an album which captures the magic of the show.

Hark HarkThis is not just a bunch of folk with good voices belting out traditional carols. It’s a welcoming hotch-potch of stories, poetry and jokes threaded through with carolling and wassailing, both acapella and accompanied by a proper bagful of instruments, blown, plucked, bowed and struck.

The show is rich in the Variety tradition – there are various nods to music hall – and steeped in folk’s past and present, and the way the show veers effortlessly between solemnity and silliness makes it a wonderful, and wonderfully warm, winter night out.

My favourite, favourite Carol Singers, (Natalie Wheen, Classic FM)

Artist/Label website: www.nomasters.co.uk

If you would like to order a copy of the album (in CD or Vinyl), download it or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the banner link below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.