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Wales’ contribution to Liverpool’s rich cultural
heritage. The musical idiom is thus sensibly
with the stage show (at least, that’s how it
comes across). The booklet credits the music
varied, to reflect the diversity of that city’s The Golden Days Of Steam on the disc to Sandy Brechin and Annie Grace,
cultural life, and the album features Tudur’s
Fellside FECD221
with Aly Macrae & the Macrazy Vaudeville
lively and attractive arrangements of traditional

Orchestra and Richie Werner – so the
material among his own compositions.
The songs on this CD (a compilation of
musicianship is not in doubt. The ceilidh sets
1988’s The Man Who Put The Engine In The
are played with verve and vigour, with felicitous
The opening Ymhellach Na Phell (The Pool)
Chip Shop and 1971’s Requiem For Steam)
scoring and foot-stepping fun, and stand alone:
has a genially rocking pop-style melody that
could scarcely have been written by anyone
no further comment. Of the four songs, three
crosses the confident stride of New Country
who hadn’t served his time in the old British
are originals (by Jimmie Macgregor and Allan
with a Gerry Rafferty vibe in a tribute to
Railways. Dave ‘January Man’ Goulder
Henderson): jokey cameo-tableaux ostensibly
Merseybeat, whereas the folkier acoustic
certainly paid his dues, as a station porter,
sung by individual “characters” from the show.
textures of Mynd O Wlad Y Medra (Mona,
engine cleaner and fireman - then it was
Amusing enough on one hearing, but… The
Farewell) almost recall Lindisfarne, and Naw
back to the sheds when eye trouble removed
fourth vocal track is a throwaway cover of
Stryd Madryn (On Madryn Street) is distinctly
him from the footplate. He’d left the service
the old doowop number Only You – pointless
late-Beatlesque. Tudur’s backing crew
before Dr Richard Beeching was appointed
(unless someone who’s seen the show can
incorporates the talents of Huw Roberts, Tudur
chairman of the British Railways Board, but that
tell me otherwise!). So it all feels like a rather
Huws Jones, Bedwyr Morgan, Simon Gardner
didn’t stop him lamenting the end of steam in
tame exercise, and not exactly accidental – in
and John Williams, and a fine ensemble
Requiem and the butchering of the network
that RoSPA or the Health & Safety Executive
they make too. But, however satisfyingly
in Shut-down Of The Pinxton Line. There’s a
have stepped in to prevent the accidents, for in
constructed the songs and music may be, one
tale of a mishap in Turntable Song and of a
the end no deaths occur and no accordionists
feature of this release might be considered a
hair-raising footplate experience in The Day We
were harmed in the making of this CD.
bit of a drawback. Non-Welsh-speakers need
Run Away but the prevailing mood is one of
to note that no translation is given for the five
David Kidman
traditional songs; and yet three of Tudur’s own

songs are presented in both Welsh and English
By the time Goulder recorded the Chip Shop
versions here (this took a bit of working out:
collection (which comprises the first 25 tracks
only when you start to think “this song sounds
on this CD) the situation was more hopeful,
On Angel Wings
familiar…” does it start to dawn!). All in all, this
with preservation societies springing up
No Masters NMCD30
is a likeable and musically accessible release,
throughout the country and reopening sections

although definitely more pop than folk in its
of track. Goulder was moved to celebrate the
The first collaboration between the Children’s
overall style.
great days of steam in Race To The North
Laureate and founder (with wife Clare) of the
and The Settle & Carlisle and workhorses
charity Farms For City Children and Coope
David Kidman
of the network in Eight Freight Blues - but
Boyes and Simpson was Private Peaceful, a
he counterbalanced their optimism with
recording and stage production of the author
Stanley Accrington’s elegiac Last Train and
reading from his award-winning anti-war story
Cyril Tawney’s In The Sidings Now and The
interspersed with appropriate songs from
The Oldest Was Born First Dinosaur The Railway Left Behind remembers
the country’s finest harmony trio. For this
the old railwaymen who failed to manage the
latest joint enterprise Michael Morpurgo is
transition into Beeching’s brave new age.
assisted by additional readers Simon Reade,
Dave Ruch (it rhymes with ‘Luck’) is a singer/

Paul Chequer, Andrew Bridgmont, Alexander
instrumentalist from Buffalo, New York State,
It is good to have these recordings available
Campbell and Stephanie Street, whilst CBS
and a great proselytiser for the folk songs and
once more, but they are a stark reminder of
are augmented by Fi Fraser, Jo Freya and
lore of that area. As proof of that we have here
what was so casually destroyed, which might
Georgina Boyes. It’s the tale of the shepherd
his album of ‘Traditional Songs and Tunes from
now have come into its own. ‘Never speak
boy who (reasoned Morpurgo from his twenty-
New York State’ His notes to the album contain
ill of the dead’, my mother cautioned me. In
five years of farm work) must have been
the statement ‘I’m fascinated by this music of
the case of Beeching, arrogant, overpaid and
left behind to tend the flock when his older
daily life, circa 19th and early 20th century...
ultimately so shortsighted, it’s tempting to
companions received Gabriel’s summons
and I’m still kind of amazed that such a vibrant
make an exception.
to greet the newborn Prince of Peace but,
tradition existed in my home state’. The sheer
courtesy of the kindly archangel, managed to
Dave Tuxford
pleasure in making music he shows on this CD
see the Christ-child after all.

bears out the truth of that statement.

I listen to this in mid-December and, whether
The geographical restriction doesn’t prevent
or not you happen to accept the literal truth of
him from producing an album of varied content
the New Testament, it’s an uplifting experience
either; we get songs of loggers, canal men,
- the ideal antidote to the musical dross, which
The Accidental Death
(known upstate as ‘canawlers’) and some nifty
traditionally assaults the ears during Advent.
tunes, expertly played on guitar and mandolin
of An Accordionist
Morpurgo’s tale, which is a fitting complement
with never a false note. On the humorous Bald Brechin All Records CDBAR005
to the account in St Matthew‘s Gospel, is
Headed End of a Broom he plunks very merrily
enhanced by a sensitively-chosen selection
on tenor banjo, following it with Roslyn Castle, The “legendary comedy ceilidh murder mystery
of carols taken substantially from the South
a mandolin solo played first slowly then up- theatre show” The Accidental Death Of An
Yorkshire/Derbyshire tradition for which CBS
tempo, an impressive track. Accordionist underwent a phenomenally
and friends are deservedly well-known; for
successful nine-week tour this summer,
this project, however, the net is cast as far as
Songs like Blue Mountain Lake and Shove including three weeks at the Edinburgh Festival
Hertfordshire (In Bethlehem City), Staffordshire
Your Grog Around hit the spot via his sincere fringe. The show, originally inspired by the
(While Shepherds Were Watching) and
performance and clear warm-toned voice. eccentricities of daily life on a small estate
Cornwall (Nowell & Nowell). Anyone who has
My own favourite is Wisconsin, a duet with near Forres, was written by Euan Martin and
heard their previous Christmas offerings will
Alison Pipitone, being a dialogue between Dave Smith; its humble inaugural tour as a
appreciate that comment on the performances
an ambitious farmer who wants to move on, 2001 Highland Festival commission had by
would be superfluous; CBS, whether as a trio
and his wife who does not. It’s a fine track, 2008 matured to a major remount. So this
or with FFB, are always flawless.
wistful and charming, and typically classy on purported-soundtrack album should be an

this impressive album. Dave Ruch has plans absolute hoots-mon, right? But sad to report,
At a time when the so-called ‘holy land’ is
for a UK tour in the autumn of 2009. On this although it bodes well and promises much, it
defiled by conflict and violence, we have never
evidence he’ll be a welcome guest. delivers little. It’s a mere 26-minute, eight-track
been in greater need of this fine interpretation
squib that just alternates instrumental sets with
of Morpurgo’s gentle fable.
Roy Harris songs, giving no sense of plot or concordance
Dave Tuxford
The Living Tradition - Page 44 Sponsored by BIrnam CD
Issue82.indd 44 24/2/09 14:01:07
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