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TONY KENDALL "Fairlop Fair" Stormforce Arts STFC007CD

This album is one of those that come from left field: with little publicity, they arrive on the desks of reviewers. And I guess reviewers never know quite what to make of them. Tony Kendall was commissioned to research and record the songs, tunes and stories associated with the Fairlop Fair. This took place in July every year from 1720 to 1860, in what was then the remote countryside of Essex. A new museum housing an exhibition about the Fair was opened in September 2000, and this CD was produced to coincide. Okay. Let us not duck the obvious question: were the songs Kendall researched worth unearthing? The blunt answer is "probably not". But he throws in some bonus tracks that are "simpatico" with the Fair songs, and this raises the level of material. A real "plus" is the nice way stories intersperse the songs, and the fine delivery of the lyrics by Kendall himself (ably assisted by Hazel Briner), and his accomplished accompaniment on fiddle and guitar.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 50 of The Living Tradition magazine.