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VARIOUS ARTISTES - Yellowbellies BBC Radio Lincolnshire YBR 101

Well, there are fine charity causes, and fine compilations CDs. Trouble is that the two are rarely synonymous. I have one or two fine compilation CDs in my possession that frankly seem to be supporting a less-than-compelling cause. And vice versa: a wonderful cause let down by a shoddy hastily nailed together mishmash. And a MISMATCHED mishmash at that.

But here the two come together brilliantly. There can be no greater cause than the BBC Radio Lincolnshire "Go For Gold" appeal: viz. to send desperately-ill children to Lapland this year to see Father Christmas, and then couple it with a CD where Lincolnshire's finest folk musicians waive all royalties to donate a track. Yellowbellies (the term for natives of England's second-biggest county) are amongst the staunchest Folk fans in Britain. This album is already selling well @ 10 each throughout all the folk clubs in the county, and in a myriad other outlets.

The quality of artiste here could represent BRITAIN, not just Lincolnshire. The 16 tracks are from 16 different performers (three times that number had wanted to contribute!): heavyweights like John Conolly and Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher are to be found on the CD, but so also are the nationally lesser-known. Not a weak track there. I would like to mention them all but space restricts me to just three. The great Brian Dawson's marvellous delivery of the traditional song The Owls and the Mice"had me in fits; the astonishing intensity of Kate Abbott's singing of Mark Addison's compelling Sea Change; and Dave Evardson's Thrown It All Away. He has never written a better song.

Oh, I cannot end the review without mentioning a fourth song. I haven't mentioned the best song, because it is one I constantly champion, and my subconscious told me to "give it a rest". But I cannot. The best song on an already fine album, is the opening song. Miranda Sykes (another figure now well-known in folk circles far beyond her native county) sings her dad's composition "Lincolnshire Song". It is nothing short of a masterpiece in song composition, and deserves to become officially adopted as the County's Anthem.

As you will appreciate, outside Lincolnshire you will not easily obtain this album. But you can get it if you e-mail this lady at Radio Lincolnshire: maureen.townend@bbc.co.uk

Dai Woosnam

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