VARIOUS ARTISTS – Big River Big Songs (Mawson-Wareham Music MWMDVD78)

Perhaps this tremendous DVD should be re-titled “Big Hearts, Big Soul” such is the impact it’s had on me! It goes without saying that Geordie-land has spawned some of this country’s best musicians and actors and (as if you needed any) here is proof that artists the calibre of Kevin Whately, Tim Healy, Jimmy Nail, Lindisfarne, Billy Mitchell, Sting and Mark Knopfler are as welcoming as a freshly pulled pint of ‘Newky’ Brown. Produced with consummate skill by Lindisfarne’s Ray Laidlaw and with commentary jointly provided by Emmerdale’s Charlie Hardwick and Eric Robson they segue between the stunning visual landscapes of the Northumberland region with musical and thespian contributions (apart from those already credited) from Alun Armstrong and a particularly nice rendition of “Still I Love Him” performed by current Emmerdale favourite Chelsea Halfpenny.

For any Newcastle football supporters there’s a roaring version of “Blaydon Races” courtesy of Whatley, Healy & Nail (worth purchasing the DVD on its own merits) and Sting joined by Nail on a striking duet of “The Waters Of Tyne”. My one reservation…and it’s only a minor one…is that Joe McElderry performs the glorious “Big River” where personally I think it should have been handed to the more mature Nail or Mitchell to give it the gravitas it really deserves. There’s plenty here for the ‘folk’ music enthusiast and, while you’re at it 70% of the profits go towards some very deserving charities. Mawson & Wareham have provided us with some great DVDs in recent years and this one certainly wears its heart on its sleeve. Highly recommended!

Pete Fyfe

75% of the profits from this DVD will be donated to the following Not for Profit company and Charities: the Northumbria Anthology, the Sunday for Sammy, the Bobby Robson Foundation and the Rainforest Foundation.

Up in the North East we’re very proud of our musical heritage so I’m absolutely sure that this will be a DVD you’ll play again and again.’ Kevin Whately.

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

CHARLIE DORE – Cheapskate Lullabyes (Black Ink Music BICD6)

I suppose it must be at least 20 years since I saw a live performance (I believe it was The Hope & Anchor in Islington) by Charlie Dore. Things haven’t changed much in as much that I think she’s still one of this country’s finest singer/songwriters including previous hits “Pilot Of The Airwaves” and Jimmy Nail’s “Aint No Doubt”. Coming from a lady who is versed in the arts of both music and theatre her lyrics are wordy and enjoyable and, at the end of the day set out to ‘entertain’…if that’s not too dirty a word? If proof were needed then check out “A Man Walks Into A Bar” where the song makes you listen by bringing you in on the joke. This may not be a laugh out loud set-piece but by its very nature the title draws your attention to what lies beneath the headline.

A bit like a Derrin Brown inspired Saatchi & Saatchi subliminal advert these songs pack a powerful punch that will linger long after the last syllable has been uttered. It’s this engaging skill as a songwriter that will bring wry smiles and knowing nods to their subject matter including difficult step-children “Milk Teeth” and the infidelity inspired hot club jazz of “His Wife” that makes the listener feel like an investor in a magical ‘words factory’. A round of applause must also go to Dore’s sterling band of musicians including multi-instrumentalist Julian Littman (now also a member of Steeleye Span), Dudley Phillips (double bass) and strings maestro Jake Walker. This is the real deal for those that like their ‘folk’ roots with a little more edge.

PETE FYFE

Bob Fox – Dreams Never Leave You

Bob Fox Dreams Never Leave YouBob Fox’s latest album “Dreams Never Leave You” is like an old friend. “The Road to the North” welcomes you in and leads very nicely into “The White Cockade”. The album is very well constructed and every track seems to fit well with the next, like Ewan MacColl’s “Champion at Keeping them Rolling” which features some marvelous flute playing by Norman Holmes. The two songs that follow are about the river Tyne in Newcastle, UK: the first, a love song, and the second, Jimmy Nail’s “Big River”. Bob also covers Jez Lowe’s touching tale “Greek Lightning”, about a dream that lets you down which features some inspired fiddle playing by Ric Sanders. Another highlight is Ralph McTell’s “From Claire to Here”, a simply beautiful version. Bob offers some great tips on the fairer sex in “Take Her in Your Arms” and the last track “The Galway Shawl” completes this collection of carefully chosen tracks. The Folkmaster – 17-May-2001

folkmaster 2014 – The above video is from a folking live event we run back in October 2006 when Bob was joined by his old sparing partner Billy Mitchell. “The Rambling Rover” (also on the album) was performed as the final encore and conjures up the spirit of what made our folking live events and the artists we had at them so memorable…

Artist website – http://www.bobfoxmusic.com