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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Thinking Out Loud" Bedspring Music BOING9301

This release, perhaps more than any I have ever heard, demonstrates the "living tradition" of folk music perfectly. For this is the very Genesis of tradition. It is very easy to listen to, the lyrics are clear and sometimes thought-provoking, the instrumentals show remarkable depth and the tunes are easily hummed: so much so that some seem very familiar and then begins the irritating search for where-have-I-heard-that-before? Having cudgled our brains and finally decided it must be part of our youth, perhaps in the sixties, the tune becomes truly remarkable because the writer could not conceivably have been influenced by whoever or whatever we have thought of because, you see, all bar one of the tracks were written and performed by a group of 12-15 year olds with virtually NO musical background. Their effort is indeed "Thinking Out Loud".

Their mentor is a member of a prominent and well respected folk group (the group acted as backing vocalists where requested). The project was sponsored in part by the Performing Rights Society and involved three schools. It should have ended with a concert for Mums, and Dads and Grannies and perhaps a cassette tape to gather dust in the tape rack, played only when no one else could hear it - for nostalgia's sake. But no! The project was carried on by the backing group to a conclusion far beyond the young performers'/composers' dreams and probably well beyond that envisaged by PRS with their original sponsorship. This is where the adults got heavily involved as they pounded the word processor keys and burned up phone lines raising even more sponsorship. Music becomes a tradition when it is performed and heard beyond the confines of its original social circle. (Okay, the tape may have been sent to Aunt Sadie in Australia, but that's only an extension of the family). No - the idea was to release on C.D. as well as cassette and thereby open the door to the possibility of being heard by a wider audience via radio play locally, nationally, maybe even internationally. Their mentor and teacher dreams that one day he will be able to send each of them their share of the money for air play to set the final crown on this project. The young musicians learned that you don't need Sony or EMI to release a C.D. (see John Eeles "So You Wanna be a Star", Living Tradition March/April 1994).

This is where we come in - music needs new talent all the time. Let's encourage these and all youngsters - buy a copy of the tape/C.D. You will play it more than once, I guarantee. Any of you who have any influence over the play list of any radio programme - how about getting a track aired?

I would add that I have no personal connection with this project. I have never met any of the young people, but I can hear potential in their music and believe passionately it should be encouraged and nurtured so that anyone who ever "thinks out loud" stands a chance of becoming part of our Living Tradition.

Anne-Marie Ringler

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This album was reviewed in Issue 6 of The Living Tradition magazine.