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John Conolly "Send Us A Postcard" JACD01

John Conolly has produced a loving and hilarious celebration in song to those music hall and variety comedians of the past. Using the seaside humour of the old ribald postcards as his inspiration he has written new songs and monologues, often with a modern day slant, but in the recognisable style of the old variety comics.

For the most part he has avoided direct parody rather using the framework (and old jokes) to create an entirely new song. The nearest to parody is probably Albert Goes to Cleethorpes, which parallels Albert and the Lion but with new twists to the plot. A lovely play on Ernie the milkman in The Fastest Mobile Library in the West would have Benny Hill laughing in the aisles. There is a wonderful by-play on literary styles and genres.

John has included his folk club-favourite song Punch and Judy Man; we do have a tendency to forget the fine structured songs that he has written in the past. He is not afraid of writing sentimental songs such as "Out of Season" with its sensitive insight into old age. Sentiment seems out of fashion yet it forms the basis of many of the best songs of the past whether traditional or written to order. Like the best music hall comedy songs this CD is clever, risqué, and hilarious but in the end a very affectionate dedication to a lost era.

Nick Caffrey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 41 of The Living Tradition magazine.