ASHLEY HUTCHINGS & KEN NICOL – Copper, Russet And Gold (Park Records PRKCD109)

Ashley Hutchings proves a fine songwriter on the strength of this recording and opening with “I Am Prologue” there’s a sense of pomp in the lyrics that suits the image hinted at on the superbly subtle cover of the CD booklet. Not one to rest on his laurels Ken Nicol, a great all-rounder makes use of his musical skills in the role of multi-instrumentalist (guitars, mandolin, percussion and keyboards) underpinned by Hutchings bass guitar. The ‘music scene’ in general also owes Mr Hutchings a debt of gratitude for the theatrical overtones that run throughout this recording extending to the track “Five-barred Gate” where he utilises the spoken word sparring with Nicol’s not inconsiderable vocal talents. With contributions from Becky Mills on “Wink Of An Eye” and “Raggle Taggle Lad” and Abbie Lathe on “Never The Same Again” this is the kind of CD that you will gain something from on each repeated play. Of course, for those of us that have followed Ashley’s career from the early days of “The Complete Dancing Master” and “Rattlebone & Ploughjack” narrative plays a huge part in the creation of many of his projects and the collaborative efforts of both artists should be commended and one that we should happily bestow the time honoured quote “Quintessentially English”.


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