In the early Seventies I spent a day of my ill-spent youth in the company of A L Lloyd at a college in the Elephant & Castle, London. I distinctly remember this because I went especially to see ‘Bert’ having been steered in his direction via the music of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. Being (at that time) more adventurous and with an inquisitve mind I was intrigued to find the source behind much of the material utilised by bands of the folk-rock genre. He was a jovial racontuer whose often humorous takes on the roots of the British tradition have rarely been captured ‘live’ but on repeated listening to this recording from 1972 you can certainly see why Steeleye and Fairport were similarly inspired with ribald tales such as “The Widow Of Westmorland’s Daughter” or the wishful thinking of Henry Lawson’s “The Shearer’s Dream”. The enjoyment of being in Lloyd’s company is endorsed by an audience that lustily swells the chorus of the shanty “Doodle Let Me Go” but just as easily respects the big ballads including a five minute “Prince Heathen”. Bert was a colourful character that brought to life the songs he sang (often with a wry smile on his face) and much of this is evident on a recording that has been lovingly restored by producer Paul Adams. An inspiration to all of those that have come to enjoy our ‘folk tradition’ this album should be required listening.
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