I have been again reminded of the astonishing - actually intimidating - high standard of so much of MT's production. I know of no other place, online or in-print, where material of such detail, authority, and value is published in its entirety.
I want to thank you wholeheartedly for keeping these vital recordings in print, and for the thoughtful and extensive notes that are provided with each recording. You're a valuable resource, and I'm glad you're doing this vital work.
I am totally bowled over by the brilliant presentation with all its informative content and scholarship. As a collector of mainly classical music I have to think that most classical record companies sell their audience very, very short in this respect!
Kevin and Ellen Mitchell ... what is by any standards a wonderful collection of songs ... I knew what to expect from Kevin ... and was not disappointed ... I knew nothing about Ellen ... Young Johnston and Clyde's Waters ... they are tremendous ... my sheer pleasure at the wealth of material contained in the CDs themselves and the wonderful notes ... This would have been my CD of 2001, had I received it in time.
Thanks also for the splendid Daisy Chapman. Not just the singing but the superb notes ... this gold standard. Got quite emotional listening to her, especially the Dying Plooman. Bless you for bringing Daisy back.
I have enjoyed all your previous releases very much but this [Wiggy Smith & Family] is really something else. I never thought that I would hear Jim Reeves, Norman Wisdom and Barbara Allen within a few tracks of each other. Quite marvellous stuff and probably more typical of the Traveller repertoire than that on VotP. The Lord Bateman with all the traffic and bar noise has to be one of the truly great actuality recordings - and a very full text well sung, to boot.
Congratulations on what is now, with your group of CD issues, emerging as a valuable service to anyone interested in traditional singers and singing.
... booklets are highly informative, with background information about the singers and comments by the collectors about how they came to record them, extracts from interviews, notes about the songs with Roud and other standard numbers, and full and accurate transcriptions of their texts ... good by any standard. These printed booklets are a very significant contribution to folk-song scholarship in their own right. The recordings themselves, of course, constitute a crucial part of the archive and legacy of traditional song and singing.
Quite apart from the fascination of the songs and the quality of the singers, what makes this collection so specially precious is the context. Snatches of conversations in pubs, the sounds of the audience ... the sense of a true local community singing folk songs for their own sake, and the simple belief that they ought to be sung.
The singers - all 14 of them - do full justice to their songs and deliver them with dignity, passion and high expertise ... Detailed erudite notes support these inspiring and atmospheric recordings, which is contsitent with the high production and aesthetic standards of the MT label.
The recordings just shout humanity and cultural background at us, with glimpses of a way of life now lost, even to travellers themselves, and of entertainment not dependent on the easy flick of switch. This is especially important at a time when Gypsy culture is just starting to be viewed culturally and legally as something worth preserving in its own right.
The range of songs included here is simply staggering ... Presented in a DVD case with an accompanying 36-page booklet, replete with information about the Travellers and their songs, this is quite simply the most important and vital album of traditional song to emerge for some time.
There's much talk about how the younger generation of players now investigating home-grown traditional music are not paying enough attention to older traditional sources, and in particular to singers and ballads. Well, here they're served it all on a plate ... full of great examples of the strength of traditional singing styles and the repertoire ... The real pleasure is in the flow, in soaking up the lesser knowns, the relaxed deliveries, the ambience of recordings made in the singers' natural surroundings ... And then reading the notes opens up more windows on it all.
This is a real treat - a remarkable collection of field recordings of authentic Appalachian mountain music ... five hours of spellbinding music, with 56 tunes, 75 ballads and songs, and seven folk tales. Far in the Mountains is a wonderful collection which can be enjoyed on so many levels and deserves a wide audience. I, for one, will be drawn back to it many times.
At a time when traditional music source reissues are plentiful, this set stands out for its wide breadth, packaging, and informative notes.
Two packed CDs give a rounded view of a traditional singer's repertoire ... we are once more in Musical Traditions's debt for allowing us to hear another classic traditional singer in all his glory. As usual, a thoroughly informative and fascinating booklet accompanies. Very strongly recommended.
This collection is an archive gem, a must for those with an interest in songs and singing. We should heartily thank Musical Traditions for giving us the pleasure.
The CDs are of exceptional quality ... on hearing the first few tracks I was not only impressed and spellbound; I was inspired. Their singing demands that anyone within earshot listens to them - it's very difficult to concentrate on anything but the song.
The whole production is an absolute triumph - neither the quality of the singing nor the interest of the songs flag throughout the entire two hours plus ... these CDs contains that rare beast, recordings of traditional performers performing. Not singing to the microphone, or the collector, or in their front room or at a concert, but performing to a roomful of their peers, spontaneously, naturally and with an extreme of skill. This is a window on a lost world, the last flowerings of that period when these songs were an integral part of people's experience and when singing was an unselfconscious sharing of delight.
Congratulation to Musical Traditions for one of the most significant contributions to recorded traditional song of the last fifty years. This CD has its finger right on the pulse of English Gypsy contribution to the preservation of traditional singing. I can vouch for its authenticity, having participated in many gatherings in wagons and trailers and around campfires with English Romany families in the north. I believe that this CD is a superb contribution to the national sound archives and one that every serious student of English Traditional song should have in their collection.
Moreover the CD is accompanied by a superb booklet which: has an excellent Introduction, gives all the song texts, together with current recorded versions and printed sources, and has a verbatim transcript of the video interview given by Daisy in 1987. Indeed, the booklet is a model of its type; erudite, lucid, and highly informative ...
The portrait of Walter and his environment is a full one and, one supposes, unlikely to be bettered in substance ... Because of the comprehensive nature of the whole repertoire as it is now revealed there is less danger that this or that collector indulged mediation to a distorting degree. Integrity is splendidly served.
Here it is, then, the real thing; as skilled, authentic and convincing an interpreter of English traditional song as the second half of the twentieth century can offer!
I have become a serious Cyril Poacher fan after working on his stuff for 'Root & Branch 2'. Yours is a great CD and I must have a personal copy! Please send one with an invoice.
... the producers have laboured with love and care; I commend the enterprise and effort which has gone into its production - a new cottage industry, the home production of CDs. I am enormously grateful for the enterprise and devotion with which they have made available something unique, and undervalued - and that a series is envisioned.
This one scores over all the compilations by making such an in-depth study of someone who was clearly a major talent. The fascinating booklet and photos add to the interest ... Projects like this may now be possible for the small number of people who know the importance of this music. It also opens up the possibility of a sizeable catalogue, produced in small quantities, but remaining available over many years. Good thinking Mr Stradling!
It's hard to pinpoint the most remarkable thing about this double CD release from Musical Traditions. At 46 songs, it's probably the most extensive recording of material from a traditional English singer ever released ... this CD is made up entirely of unreleased versions from 1969, making it something of a 'time capsule' or 'lost album'. And, perhaps a point with more far-reaching implications, it's a burned-to-order CD set, a pair of discs made up on a PC and a CD writer; this eliminates the need for a 'run' and thus much of the production cost, of a low-budget, small-demand genre like traditional singing ...