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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Deep Lancashire" Topic TSCD485

"Deep Lancashire" was first released by Topic in 1968 and was the label's best selling release. The follow up album "Owdham Edge" came out in 1970 with a similar mix of performers. It was not a compilation album - there were too few recordings to compile in those days - but featured about ten different performers, the common thread being traditional or traditional style material from Lancashire.

"The Oldham Tinkers" went on to record solo albums and have been performing for the last thirty years despite hardly even venturing further than a few miles from Oldham. Harry Boardman died a few years ago having been a mentor to several people including Brian Peters and inspiring research and performance of Lancashire songs and tunes.

Mike Harding is described in the notes as "a young man in his twenties, he has a deep interest in Lancashire traditions and has recently revived pace-egging in Middleton using members of a local youth club where he is an active leader". One of the editors of this erstwhile magazine's claim to fame is that he was a member of that very youth club and took part in the first revival of the play. Having been introduced to this album and most of the performers the first time around I will inevitably have a fond affection for the album.

Bernard Wrigley - the Bolton Bullfrog - also made his debut in this album. Bernard is another artiste with huge popularity in his home area and unfortunately will be known throughout the rest of the UK more for his roles on Coronation Street or Emmerdale than for his music. Our loss.

At the time Bernard played in a duo - Dave and Bernie - along with Dave Brooks and Dave also contributes one song to this collection.

The lion's share of the recording was taken up by "The Oldham Tinkers" and Harry Boardman but with the others previously mentioned, plus Harry Ogden, Pete Smith and Harvey and Mary Kershaw it makes up a delightful collection from a part of the country which hasn't yet exposed the extent of its traditions.

Although the CD is titled "Deep Lancashire" it contains most of the material from two LPs, "Deep Lancashire" and "Owdham Edge", missing out a couple of songs each from Harry Boardman and The Oldham Tinkers. The first album was recorded by Bill Leader, the second Sean Davies. The sleeve gives the original notes on the performers and songs but makes no attempt at providing any updated information despite there being two blank pages in the booklet. The front cover uses the same basic original graphic of The Pond by L.S. Lowry with a largely illegible artiste listing in red lettering. Full marks for the original albums - could do better for the booklet.

John Muirhead

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