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TOM BLISS AND FRIENDS - Island Stories

TOM BLISS AND FRIENDS - Island Stories
Original and Traditional stories, songs and music from The Channel Islands
SLIPJIG MUSIC SLIP 011

'‘Virtuoso’ is the word that comes readily to mind to describe this album. Of the fifteen tracks Tom Bliss wrote eleven, sings on eight, and plays twelve different instruments. A variety of other musicians appear on the album including folk scene veterans Chris Parkinson and Tom Napper.

The Channel Islands are marketed these days as an idyllic holiday destination but Tom Bliss, who lived on Alderney for many years, uncovers a darker history – the Nazi occupation, shipwrecks, floods, battles between England and France and, most intriguingly, in the song Turn and Face the Wind, the story of a Chinese girl, saved from certain death in her homeland and given a new life on Alderney.

But this is by no means a gloomy album. Tom Bliss shows a lightness of touch in even his darkest songs and there is great instrumental variety and a sprinkling of dance tunes as well as a jaunty traditional song J’ai perdu ma femme sung in French.

Howard Baker 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 74 of The Living Tradition magazine.