About 20 years ago, Tony Rose and I went up to Elsie’s, the legendary pub at Cowden Pound, south of London, where Tony generously shared his guest spot with me, and we stayed the night with Tony Deane and his wife Audrey. I’d not met Tony before and imagined that, judging by the songs he’d written, he must be a Cornishman. And, of course, he was – by adoption.
I’d heard a number of his songs over the years, many of which felt as if they’d grown there rather than being composed, and virtually all of which are eminently singable. So I was delighted to see this CD, which has been put together by some of his many friends since his death in early 2015.
There are 19 tracks, all but one composed by Tony, a couple of which he sings himself (in a voice reminiscent of Tony Rose). One of these, Following The Old ‘Oss, enjoys what must surely be a unique distinction of having been embraced by the May Day tradition at Padstow. The others are sung and accompanied by his friends – who include the likes of Martin Wyndham-Read, Jim Causley and Iris Bishop, as well as a strong cast of supporting singers, many of them from Elsie’s, and including that club’s resident band.
There are some absolute gems here, and some very good singing and playing on many of the tracks, but for me the most important and interesting aspect of this CD is that it is a reservoir of excellent songs that deserve to be sung, all from one man - who still had a lot left to offer.
It says a lot for Tony and his songs that everyone involved with this recording donated their services FOC, and that all profits will go to the RNLI. Recommended.