JOHNNY COPPIN – Midwinter – Live In Concert (Red Sky Records RSKCD 123)

MidwinterDue to this unprecedented year of few live gigs, well known and well-respected singer/songwriter Johnny Coppin has brought out this delightful live album of his last All In A Winters Night Christmas gig of 2019 at the 500 seater Bacon Theatre in Cheltenham to keep us from missing his annual live Festive concert. To my surprise it is his first live album. There are eight tracks not recorded before on this 21-track album, which includes music from four of Johnny’s Christmas albums: All On A Winters Night, West Country Christmas, Keep The Flame and A Country Christmas.

Midwinter – Live In Concert starts with a fabulous ‘Intro/Drive The Cold Winter Away’ which sets the scene and leads us into the Festive Winter spirit perfectly!

A medley of Wassail tracks includes ‘The Gloucestershire Wassail’, ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Wassail’ – wassail songs from Kent, Somerset, Devon & Cornwall.  ‘The Five Valleys Wassail’ – a new track – was written by Johnny for The Stroud Wassail.

The dark, brooding and haunting ‘Innocents Song’ written by Cornish poet Charles Causley CBE and recorded by award winning folkies Show of Hands, is a more up-tempo version, almost marching and including co-founder member of Show of Hands – multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer lending his vocals and fiddle, with an awesome guitar piece separating the two sections of the track.

The rocking ‘Boogie Woogie Santa Claus’ was a surprise foot tapping number making you want to get up and dance!  I had the same urge to dance when listening to the Mummers Jig tune with Paul Burgess (fiddle, recorders and vocals).

Highly amusing tracks are ‘Mrs Fogarty’s Christmas Cake’ (love this) and ‘The Lighthouse Keeper’ co-written and sung by Dik Cadbury (guitar and vocals).

The album also has Geoff March on cello and vocals, Mick Candler on drums and Gareth Sampson on bass guitar.

Johnny Coppin and his ‘Keep The Flame’ leads the listener out of the album and is one of my favourites.  Have heard it live and sends shivers down my spine every time.  Johnny’s haunting piano and voice are unique and an absolute joy to listen to.  A really lovely album for winters dark days to keep you warm and toasted from a master of his craft, the incomparable Johnny Coppin.

Check out Johnny Coppin’s website for more news and any live dates hopefully next year.  There are also contact details on his contact page on how to buy his albums.

Jean Camp

Artist’s website:

‘The Five Valleys Wassail’ – official video: