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THE WATERSONS "Green Fields" Topic TSCD500
VARIOUS ARTISTS "The Season Round" Topic TSCD700

More good stuff from Topic Records' back catologue.

"The Season Round" has a selection of songs associated with events throughout the year. "Hear We Come a-Wassailing", "Pace Egging Song", "We Gets up in the Morning", "Hal-An-Tow" and "Earlsdon Sword Dance" show how varied the songs are on this themed selection. The style of performance of these songs also has a common theme. Shirley Collins appears solo on "Cambridgeshire May Carol" but for the most part with contributions from The Valley Folk, Oak and chiefly The Watersons, rousing harmony and unison singing takes the day.

More from The Watersons can be heard on a revived, re-compiled and augmented version of their last recording, "Green Fields", from way back in 1981. In this version of "The Watersons" Lal, Norma and Mike were joined by Martin Carthy and the tempo takes on a slightly quicker pace and the songs are a shade brighter in their demeanour.

Adding to the original track listing is some extra material taken from the 1977 LPs, "A True Hearted Girl" from Lal & Norma Waterson and the self-titled recording from Mike Waterson. There are songs of fox hunting, "We'll all go a Hunting Today"; midnight poaching expeditions, "While the Gamekeepers Lie Sleeping" and "Hares in the Old Plantation"; sheep shearing and even sheep stealing, "Rosebuds in June" and "The Brisk Lad", most with sub-plots of love, betrayal, courtship and camaraderie. Which all add up to seventeen glorious examples of song and singing.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 28 of The Living Tradition magazine.