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THE YOUNG TRADITION "So Cheerfully Round" Essential ESMCD409

First, a confession -- or is it a boast? I am only old enough to have bought on vinyl the Young Tradition's third and final album Galleries, which being a bit of an Incredible String Band freak I enjoyed for its eclecticism, for its juxtaposition of David Munro and Robert Johnson, and for its extraordinary singing. I wasn't to hear such singing again until twenty-odd years later when I started going to folk clubs and festivals again. Now it is more like thirty years, yet it is not until now, despite the wealth of Watersons and Copper Family material brought to us by the CD folk revival, that the first two YT albums have been made available on this single CD. So please forgive me if I'm a little excited. The CD's timelessness, its energy and its variety are all stunning. The choice of songs and the quality of the singing, whether solo or in harmony, just beggars belief. Listen to the clarity and control of the harmonies on The Bold Fisherman or Lyke Wake Dirge. Why has it taken so long for this to surface? Of course we now know many of the songs second-hand - "Betsy the Serving Maid" from Martin Simpson, "The Innocent Hare" from the Wilson Family, but it is a joy to have these treasures available, scratch-free and an ideal aid for learning the songs.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.