Sometimes only some old-fashioned traditional music will do and Come Nobles And Heroes serves that up in great style. It is the debut album by Mossy Christian, a young (very young) singer and musician from Northern climes who plays fiddle, Anglo concertina and one-row melodeon.
The album opens with a pair of quicksteps, ‘Market Rasen Feast/Louth Quickstep’ taken at a sprightly pace and suddenly I’m hearing New Victory Band – that would be Johnny Adams’ trombone leading the brass section. Although he specialises in music from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, he sometimes turns his attention further to the south-east, so the second track is ‘The Ballad Of Henry And Susannah’ from The Transports paired with an old Lincolnshire tune. While he’s in the vicinity, he gives us ‘The Way Through The Wood’ from the celebrated Kipling/Bellamy songwriting team. Peter, if I recall correctly, sang it at a fairly brisk tempo, but Mossy slows it down and Adams supplies a slightly spooky brass interlude.
After ‘Black Joak – Blue Joak’ Mossy returns to Norfolk for ‘The Thresher’s Daughter’ sung as ‘Betsy The Serving Maid’ by Harry Cox and later gives us ‘Homeward Bound’ by the wonderful and sadly departed Bob Roberts. Bob was originally from Dorset but he made his name as mate and skipper on a number of sailing barges, although ‘Homeward Bound’ seems to originate from his longer voyages, possibly the Caribbean.
I’m old enough to have heard most of these songs, or variants of them, before which makes this a very comfortable listen for me but there are two songs towards the end that are new to me. The first, heralded by Tim Walker’s cornet, is a broadside, ‘Lincoln Races’, which is accompanied just on fiddle and percussion – Walker again. The second is ‘Dan Leno’ written by champion clog dancer Jim Ellwood. The assembled cast take the opportunity to throw the kitchen sink at the last song, including Ruth Bibby’s clogging and a massed arrangement that NVB would have been proud of.
If you think Come Nobles And Heroes sounds like excellent listening and a lot of fun as well you’d be right and Mossy is on my must see list as soon as we’re free to go out again.
Artist’s website: http://nicksites.net/mossy/
Album trailer which will have to do until we find something better: