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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Tommy Armstrong of Tyneside" Topic TSCD484

This album of the songs of Tommy Armstrong - "The Bard of the Durham Coalfield" was recorded in 1965 by Bill Leader. The singers included the core of The High Level Ranters plus Louis Killen and Maureen Craik. Tommy Armstrong lived from 1849-1919. Many of his songs will be familiar having become current in the folk revival including "The Trimdon Grange Explosion" and The South Medomsley Strike". The booklet contains notes to the songs, also the song texts and notes on Tommy Armstrong by Bert Lloyd. Accompaniments are very much in the Ranters' style - Ali Anderson had not joined at this stage - but generally restricted to one or two instruments on each track.

At 48 minutes and 14 tracks this was long for an LP and translates well to a CD.

John Muirhead

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This album was reviewed in Issue 25 of The Living Tradition magazine.