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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Along The Coaly Tyne" Topic Records TSCD498

A 45 rpm CD? It is in fact mainly a reissue of a series of extended play (EPs) records issued in the early 1960s featuring Louis Killen, Johnny Handle, Tommy Gilfellon, Colin Ross and Alistair Anderson.

Usually when writing reviews I listen - not for the first time - to the CD, but on this occasion I had to switch it off to avoid being carried off into a nostalgic daydream, for here again are the heady days of the British folk scene of the 1960s.

Some of the songs, like the tradition itself have stood the test of time, and are as fresh and interesting today as they were all those years ago, whilst others ... well that's part of the tradition. You make your own mind up. Here again too is the experimenting with accompaniment that took place. Louis Killen singing The Blackleg Miners and playing the five string banjo with Colin Ross on the Northumbrian pipes or Johnny Handle playing his four string guitar are just two of the examples.

However this CD is not just about history or even nostalgia. Much of it holds up well against what is being issued for the first time today, so if you are a newcomer to the folk scene and missed these performers the fist time round then this CD will show what you missed and if your Dansette record player has stopped working or has chewed up your original 45s then replace them now.

Bob Blair

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This album was reviewed in Issue 31 of The Living Tradition magazine.