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COOPE, BOYES & SIMPSON - "Funny Old World" - No Masters Voice NMCD3

Although the names sound like a firm of solicitors or plumbers the partnership of Coope, Boyes & Simpson, is more interested in song titles than title deeds and more likely to plunge into song than plunge your drains. With acknowledgement in the sleeve notes to John Tams, Marry, Lal and Norma Waterson, added to the group members' C.V.'s which mention, amongst others, Old Bull Band, Swan Arcade and Rogues Gallery, it will come as no surprise to find that messrs Coope, Boyes & Simpson sing loud, unaccompanied and both in and out of harmony.

Funny Old World" is a collection of thirteen songs. Three traditional, and the rest having traditional based structures or references. All the songs have strong, some even dramatic, tunes. The voices are clear, driving and communicative, with arrangements that leave nothing to chance and no notes unsung. Although an air of sadness runs through most of the material it is never depressing as, track two,"Down Upon The Dugout Floor" demonstrates. "Unison In Harmony" is a rousing rally call in praise of singing and "Bringing In The Sheaves" ( written by Jim Boyes ), "Sweet Evelina" and "Van Dieman's Island" are songs worthy of the praise.

Unaccompanied song is being somewhat marginalised these days, often regarded as unskillful, just singing without music. The highly skillful, unaccompanied singing style of Coope, Boyes & Simpson is chock brimming full of music. So turn up the volume, take a deep breath, give your vocal cords a workout in the chorus, take delight in the sound of the voices and the words of the songs and enjoy this "Funny Old World".

Peter Fairbairn.
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This album was reviewed in Issue 2 of The Living Tradition magazine.