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JOHNNY COLLINS - "Pedlar of Songs" - SCM004

In the sleeve notes Johnny Collins writes of being asked where he finds his songs and replies that mostly he gets them from listening to other singers. I am sure that in turn many a singer has picked up material from the singing of Johnny Collins. His taste in songs is certainly broad and encompassing and not confined to traditional material as shown on this recording which is almost entirely from contemporary sources, albeit along strong traditional lines.

Most of the songs have choruses and Anni Fentiman, Dave Webber, Pete Watkinson, Tom and Barbara Brown and Cathy and Charlie Yarwood help push things along. "Tenting To-night", "Cleveland Steel", "When all Men Sing", "The Blacksmith's Son", "Go to Work on Monday" and "The Key Above the Door" all respond well to this treatment and will soon have you singing along too. There is also a couple of Keith Marsden songs, "Normandy Orchards" and "Knocking at the Door", Bill Staines', "Down the Road" and The Touch of the Masters Hand" a poem by Myra B. Welch put to music by Sally Rogers. Indeed, much in the way of the camaraderie and bon viveur so often found in clubs and singing sessions is evident on this recording.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 20 of The Living Tradition magazine.