VARIOUS ARTISTS – Destination (Fellside Recordings FECD282)

Fellside RecordingsThe Fellside Recording label has been a major force in independent folk music recording for 42 years and has over 600 albums to its credit, many by some very big names in the genre. Now, Paul and Linda Adams have decided to slow down, and though the label remains in business, it will have a lower profile and won’t be taking on new artists. The end of an era, but by no means the end of the story. Destination is a mighty collection of tracks – three CDs worth – specially recorded by some of the many fine artists who’ve been associated with the label, plus some archive material.

The material here covers the spectrum from dance tunes to modern songs by treasured artists like Peter Bellamy (two of his Kipling settings are provided here, one sung by Terry Docherty) and Alex Glasgow, to a wide selection of traditional songs (even the occasional Child ballad). Well over half the tracks here have not been released previously. Given the calibre of the musicians here, that alone has to make it worth buying. There are also a handful of unusual jazz performances from Fellside’s sibling label Lake.

Because of the sheer number of tracks provided here (64!), my usual practice of including a full track listing didn’t seem altogether appropriate. Here are just a few more of the performers and writers who are represented in this collection, which may be enough to persuade you to take a closer look: Jez Lowe, Bram Taylor, Steve Turner, Pete Morton, Bobby Eaglesham, Sara Grey, Alistair Anderson, Paul Metsers, Brian Dewhurst, Bob Davenport…

Here are few tracks that stand out for me personally, but there’s such a wide range of artists here that your personal highlights might be quite different

  • Maddy Prior’s unaccompanied ‘Sheepcrook And Black Dog’, proving that Steeleye Span maybe always needed her more than she needed them. (Not that I didn’t like the Steeleye version.)
  • Swan Arcade’s stunning version of Sting’s ‘We Work The Black Seam’.
  • The much-missed Vin Garbutt singing ‘Boulavogue’.
  • Hedy West singing ‘Little Sadie’ – as Pete Seeger said when she sang it on his Rainbow Quest series in the ’60s, “That’s the real thing…
  • Peggy Seeger’s exquisite ‘Single Girl’ – if my ears don’t fail me, from a 1958 recording with Guy Carawan.
  • Diz Disley and friends in full Django/Hot Club mode on ‘Shine’.
  • Marilyn Middleton-Pollock’s version of ‘Melancholy Blues’, recorded long ago by Louis Armstrong and Johnny Dodds.
  • Bob Fox’s version of Alex Glasgow’s ‘Standing At The Door’. A fine performance from someone who’s no mean songwriter himself.
  • Tom Kitching & Gren Bartley with a blistering performance of ‘Whisky Head’.

But there are too many classy tracks here to list all the ones I can imagine myself listening to for a long time yet.

Buy it. You’ll certainly find enough tracks to make it worth your while.

David Harley

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Label website: www.fellside.com/

‘Single Girl’ – Peggy Seeger and Guy Carawan

VIN GARBUTT – Teesside Troubadour (Pancrack TV PAN4DVD)

For those not in the know, Vin Garbutt is the kind of bloke that you would like as your best mate. He could talk the hind legs off a donkey (in the nicest possible way) and his entertaining banter covers the sublime to the ridiculous. OK with introductions and clichés out of the way this documentary is lovingly crafted by Craig Hornby and should be required viewing by anyone who considers himself a true ‘folk music’ fan. The opening scene shows our hero emerging rabbit-like from his warren (or house in this case) looking onto a glorious vista of rolling hills that you would only normally expect to see on a postcard or the top of a box of biscuits. How any man could be enticed away from such a beautiful setting is beyond me but of course, as is the nature of the beast and to gain that somewhat dubious honour of being a fully paid-up member of the elite band of ‘real’ troubadours Garbutt has to travel far and wide in search of his own personal pot of gold. Armed with his trusty guitar and tin whistle this most personable balladeer has provided much enjoyment spanning a career that has lasted over 40 years all captured in detail utilising many press clippings and photos along with sound-bites by those lucky enough to count him as a friend. It’s not always been easy sailing but via this informative bit of voyeurism the film certainly captures the mood of someone who has to live their life out of a suitcase. Whether it be ‘live’ performances in far flung parts of the world or by getting involved in the cultural aspects of indigenous tribes Vin is forever grateful for being given the opportunity to immerse himself fully where many of us are confined to watching cultural exchanges take place through the media of TV. He is obviously a man who takes nothing for granted and by being captured in such a vulnerable way (through the media of DVD) one can’t help but admire the hard graft Garbutt maintains to this day. Congratulations to Mr Hornby for whom this was obviously a labour of love and also helping to bring vividly to life one of the ‘folk’ scene’s most respected and treasured artists…he deserves it!

PETE FYFE

Artist Web Link: www.pancrack.tv