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sometimes takes a fresh, lively attack on them Blow, On the Edge, The Fight Game and The
like this to help us all realise why they became SARAH NAYLOR Travelling People, are the titles of the Radio
popular in the first place. From the vocal Ballad programmes by MacColl, Seeger, and
hilarities of St Patrick was a Gentleman, via the
Play Scottish Fiddle – Beginners
Parker, broadcast by the BBC between July
inspired trumpet breaks on Whistling Rufus
Taigh Na Teud TNTDVD002
1958 and April 1964. These programmes stand
through to any other track you mention, this out as high points in the history of British radio.
CD just oozes with the sounds of talented guys They also stand as significant contributors
having a good time and infecting everyone who to our folk revival. Songs from these
hears them with their sense of enjoyment. programmes, such as ‘Shoals of Herring’, and
Freeborn Man’, are heard wherever folk singers
As a nice touch, the CD is designed to look and their audiences gather, some of them sung
like an old-fashioned vinyl record (remember by people who consider them ‘traditional’,
them?). Listen to this, but make sure you’ve having no idea of their provenance.
left some space for dancing – that’s what you’ll
feel like doing! Other songs have been taken up by
communities who were the subjects of some
Gordon Potter of the shows thereby becoming part of their
culture. Many people found the programmes
engrossing and endlessly fascinating, like the
man, many years ago, who gave me a lift as
I was hitchhiking from London to Norwich en
route to a gig there. He mentioned that he was
an enthusiast for the steam drifters, boats used
by the herring fishermen. I asked if he’d ever
heard the radio programme about those same
fishermen and their lives. He nearly swerved off
the road! ‘Did you hear it?’ he said, ‘I heard it
years ago and I’ve always wished they’d repeat
it. It’s the best thing I ever heard’.
When I told him I knew the show, ‘Singing the
It is fair to assume that if you are showing an
Fishing’, and the people that made it I thought
interest in this DVD you want to learn how
he might joyfully explode, especially when I
to play the Scottish Fiddle. This excellent
told him that recordings of it could be bought
tutor, aimed at the absolute beginner, is a
from Collets Record Shop in London. From
fine starting point. Sarah, a Glenfiddich fiddle
then on I was no longer a casual passenger but
champion, is one of Scotland’s best young
his honoured guest. He took me all the way to
fiddle players and a first class teacher. Her
Norwich, thirty miles past his own destination,
relaxed yet confident manner is contagious
shook my hand and thanked me profusely as
Tich Frier, ‘the wee man with the big voice’ as
and will easily encourage the student. She
we parted, then went on his way, probably with
he is known on the Scottish folk music scene
gives advice on all aspects of technique and
the memory of Sam Larner’s voice to speed
has a new album out, and it certainly confirms
concentrates on fairly simple tunes to practice
him along.
his place in Scottish music, as someone who
whilst learning. Using this DVD together with
has been around since the revival and who is
lots of practice and their own dedication the
Two years ago writer Peter Cox, himself a
still going strong. It’s always interesting when
student will be able to progress steadily to
Radio Ballads fan, was looking for a topic
reviewing an album to consider what strikes
intermediate level and, importantly, enjoy
for a new book. He had previously written
you first about the music. On this album I took
playing the tunes Sarah has selected.
on cricket, but a chance meeting and an
great delight in a voice, which is not only a big “animated conversation” with Peggy Seeger
voice but also a voice, which can tell a story.
It is never a bad thing in life to occasionally
turned his thoughts towards a book about the
take stock. A bonus I received from watching
programmes and the people that made them.
The choice of material is quite eclectic but
this DVD was the reassertion of what a great
Now we have it.
all the songs whether Tich’s own or those by
talent playing a musical instrument is and
other songwriters modern or of older origin
how much hard work and discipline it takes to
sit well together. A brilliant job is done of
play it well, something that should never be
Jim Malcolm’s Lochanside; Stephen Foster’s
overlooked. If playing the Scottish fiddle is
Hard Times gets a fresh touch by the classical
your goal and you are starting from scratch, or
influences in the instrumentation; Sailing
just need a little help with your endeavours, you
to Philadelphia is a strong duet with Dick
can turn to ‘Play Scottish Fiddle – Beginners’
Gaughan, who also produced the album. The
with confidence.
sound is generally very full with lots of vocal
harmonies and varied instrumentation. Tich
Danny Saunders
has a line of excellent musicians behind him
here, Dick Gaughan, Mike Whellans, Neil
Paterson, Pete Clark, Wendy Weatherby,
Stuart Duncan and Gillian Murray. The
storytelling powers of Tich are at the fore on
his interpretation of Tom Russell’s song Isaac
Lewis. And if I should pick my favourite this
Ewan MacColl, Charles Parker,
would be it. Tich conveys the simple storyline
of a sailor who travels far but drowns close to Peggy Seeger, and the Radio
home with a subtle sense of empathy, which
makes it stand out for me.
By Peter Cox. Pubs Labatie Books.
This is an album with a wonderful selection of ISBN 978-0-9551877-1-1.
songs and certainly, it was worth waiting for.
The Ballad of John Axon, Song of a Road,
Pernille Rutzou Singing the Fishing, The Big Hewer, The Body
The Living Tradition - Page 0 Sponsored by BIrnam CD
Issue80.indd 50 14/7/08 14:54:55
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