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On the Roof of Your House, All Alone
(Russ Chandler Music)
THERE are only six songs on this eclectic mix from south-east folk scene legend Russ Chandler, but anything this good makes it better value than most.
These are old songs that may have been forgotten but still have something to say or at least make you smile.
Master of silliness Leslie Sarony's Don't Do That To The Puss Cat is hilarious while Zog Nit Keyn Mol (Partisans' Song), written in the Vilna ghetto by Hirsch Glick, works on banjo because Chandler is a true master playing it.
Music-hall number Life in the East End of London is seven minutes of oral history from 1891, updated with a new verse, while William Morris's No Master is helped along by Steve White and the Protest Family.
Aided elsewhere by an array of talent in Andi Bridges, Matthew Crampton, Matt Quinn and Rachel Weston, this is a labour of love infused with Chandler's innovative and driving banjo playing .
A Cold Cup of Tea and a Howl of Despair
DON'T let his trademark Mohican influence your thinking. Paul Carbuncle, an incredibly talented guitarist and singer, brings a mixture of traditional and modern covers lovingly to life alongside his own songs on this offering.
There's whimsy and fun, humour and history as well as powerful political messages, with his own melodies bitter-sweet. No words are wasted on his tales of working-class life — Dublin Bill and Chopping an Onion are exceptional while Their Front Pages has the best chorus yet about the last seven years, “When they call it austerity, it is a cull by another name.”
Producer Cookie has the vocals and guitar perfectly balanced and contributes The Boots Were Black about the death of Blair Peach, which Carbuncle covers brilliantly.
Eighteen gems and a bargain price to boot.
Coffee Cup in Soho
CHARLIE LAW'S third album is a solitary and rich record filled with disbelief after a relationship break-up sees him spontaneously travelling to escape. Recorded on the move on a laptop, this is a cathartic release, something Law clearly needed to do.
A record of intense simplicity, it has Pete Maher (Rolling Stones, U2) perfectly mixing an austere combination of intricate guitar work, harmonica and quintessentially English vocals.
Songs like Let Your Guard Down are delicate and sparse while Little Love and Matching Raincoats show the healing power of time as love blossoms again.
Law doesn't ignore the bigger picture either and The Gardens in the West, about refugees, and I Want to Feel It demonstrate his talent beyond the personal.
This album sees him still maturing as an artist and bodes well for the future.
Click here to see a Facebook vido of Charlie discussing his new album.
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