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TH'ANTIQUE ROADSHOW - "Collection"- TAR 007

It's a simple set-up. Three blokes, one guitar, one concertina, and fifteen traditional or traditional sounding songs and tunes, performed with skill and understanding. These elements should add up to a satisfying album - and they do. Very much so.

From the auspicious opening "Who Liveth So Merry?" with its echoes of Robin & Barry Dransfield, the pleasure goes strongly on. The Copper Family poem "The Old Songs" (tune set by Peter Bellamy) could be said to be the manifesto of this fine group, setting out clearly why they choose the songs they do. 'Old' songs of the nature of 'Barley Straw', 'Rosebud In June', and the wonderful 'Ox Plough Song' illustrate their feeling for melody and words, never allowing the overall sound to dominate. That last one, with its delightful litany of names, is a particular favourite of mine. Lovely to hear it so well done.

Other highlights along the way include non-trad songs like Pete Mundy's 'Sweet Thyme', Colin Wilkie's 'Icy Acres', and, outstandingly, 'My Lady of Autumn' the Dave Webber song rapidly being adopted as 'traditional'.

'Th' Antiques' as they are known at many a club and festival, are possessed of good individual voices (it's a weak point in the sleeve notes that soloists or lead singers are not identified) but their ensemble work is worth noting. They sing in firmly blending harmony, strong, but not overpowering, expressing the meaning of their song clearly and with feeling.

As I said earlier, a fine group. One that should be more widely known. One that will reward the buyers of the album or any club or festival bookers with full value for money. 'How Stands the Glass Around?' makes a sturdy closer. I raise my glass to 'Th' Antiques'. A good listen.

Roy Harris  

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.