KIMBER’S MEN – The Strength Of The Swell (A Private Label APL014)

For those of you that haven’t seen Kimber’s Men do yourselves a favour and rectify this at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise, you could stay at home and put on this great 2-disk CD and bask in the rich harmonies of one of this country’s leading Shanty-styled groups. Now a five-piece the hearty vocals of Joe Stead, Neil Kimber, Dave Buckley, John Bromley and Gareth Scott combine in unison to stir the imagination of anyone wishing to feel as if they’ve just encountered a force ten gale or, in my case having got wet from the splash-back of the hose whilst cleaning the windows of my caravan. Of course there are the obligatory traditional ‘shanties’ including “Roll The Woodpile Down”, “Haul Away For Rosie” and “Bulgine Run” but the scholarly, though never starchy booklet notes (they even include all the lyrics!) lead you to a riot of colourful songs of the sea such as Stan Rogers “Mary Ellen Carter” and Bill Meek’s “Harry Eddom”. For me though, the stand-out tracks are those penned by members of the group themselves (Kimber and Buckley) who have embraced the very spirit of their chosen craft and I’m sure will find their way into the repertoires of like-minded souls of a nautical persuasion. The strength of the swell is…in this case…the strength of the ‘sell’ and it couldn’t have been done any better even if you were a Fisherman’s Friend! Pete Fyfe

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