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SID KIPPER "East Side Story" Leader Records LERCD2120

After three years, here is the latest offering from Trunch's finest son, Sid Kipper, which is dedicated to his late father, Henry, "A thing that never worked very well at the best of times." Was it worth waiting for? Absolutely!

Sid gives us 28 tracks, some simply one-verse ditties, others full-blown songs, all with the mixture of the commonplace and the surreal that typify his work. When you think about it, any lord who goes out "with his two foot soldiers" will be accompanied by people who are only twenty-four inches high, but it takes a composer of Sid's insight to point this out to us.

As ever, Sid's humour strikes at two levels, with all of the material being humorous in itself, but with an extra dig at the traditions of the folk world. And never let it be said that his focus is insular - here we have the man singing in French(?) in a splendidly accompanied "Way Down in the Bayeux Tapestry". Somehow, Cajun songs will never be the same again.

This collection of cross-dressing sailors, randy landowners and a talking parrot (buy the CD and you'll understand) would bring a smile to the face of a stone statue, and, unlike some other humorous material, this does not fade with repetition.

Just one word of warning: don't do what I did and play it for the first time on your car system - I nearly crashed several times, either from listening or laughing too much!

Gordon Potter

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