The idea for The Turn Of The Tide came out of a concert performance supporting Martin Simpson at Cornwall Folk Festival in 2016. For this gig, Pete put together a set of songs from his repertoire in varying styles about rivers, the sea and the coast. It all went down well, so he decided to record it and see how it came out.
There are three of Pete’s songs here and one each by Lennie Gallant, Stan Rogers and Archie Fisher as well as six traditional songs that Pete has sung over the years and which he learned from some of his favourite folk singers.
The album kicks off with banishment and two covers of Nic Jones’ early performances, ‘The Island Of St Helena’ and ‘The Isle Of France’, this song harking back to Pete’s days at the Southend Railway Hotel Folk Club when Nic was performing these two songs in his set. The song appeared in a broadsheet shortly after the Napoleonic wars. ‘The Isle Of France’ was collected in West Sussex where Pete now lives.
Part two concerns fishing and the loss of it. First are songs from two great Canadian writers. Stan Rogers’ ‘Make And Break Harbor’ and Lennie Gallant’s ‘Peter’s Dream’.
These more serious songs are followed by a couple of light hearted ditties. ‘The Herring’s Head’, a cumulative song heard a long time ago and ‘The Candlelight Fisherman’ from the singing of John Coppins. As a child Pete often sat on the shore at Shoeburyness watching those Thames barges, with their characteristic rigging, passing the Mulberry Harbour.
Part Three is all about Rivers and Lovers: ‘The Willow Tree’ is one of Pete’s own songs; ‘Johnny Sands’ is a rather unpleasant little song which Pete heard from Martin Carthy when at Kingston Polytechnic in the 70s. ‘Just As The Tide Was Flowing’ is from another of Pete’s big influences, Tony Rose and was Pete’s first public performance many years ago. ‘The Appalachian Way’ is another of Pete’s songs written after visiting storyteller Jerry Harmon at his house in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina
The album ends with coastal metalwork: piers and oil rigs. Pete brings back his connection with Southend on Sea to write ‘Top Alex ‘about a burning pier pavilion. Album close is ‘Men Of Worth’, a song full of great imagery from another favourite singer, the great Archie Fisher.
This superb collection of songs is complemented by informative sleeves notes and dramatic imagery.
Artist’s website: www.petemcclelland.com