I Wish There Was No Prisons

Various performers

Musical Traditions Records MTCD372

I Wish There Was No Prisons: George Spicer;  Buttercup Joe: Harry Upton;  The Banks of the Sweet Dundee: Harry Upton;  The Wreck of The Northfleet: Johnny Doughty;  Young Maria: Louise Fuller;  Green Grows the Laurels: Louise Fuller;  Hopping Down in Kent: Louise Fuller;  The Molecatcher: Louise Fuller;  If I Were a Blackbird: Louise Fuller;  I Know Where there's a Blackbird's Nest: Cantwell Family;  Good English Ale: Cantwell Family;  I Wish I Was Single Again: Freda Palmer;  Near Woodstock Town: Son Townsend;  The Irish Hop-pole Puller: George Spicer;  The German Clock-Maker: George Spicer;  Some n'Egg and Some n'Ham and Some n'Onion: George Spicer;  The Prickle Holly Bush: Bill Whiting;  Old Johnny Bigger: Percy Bridges;  Coming Home Late: Fred Welfare;  The Farmer's Wife: Fred Welfare;  Wonderfully Curious: Cyril Nunn;  The Mermaid: Johnny Doughty;  Go and Leave Me: Fred Jordan;  The Ringers: Mrs Alice Green;  I'm a Gypsy Rider: Ruth & Clare Pinner;  When Shall We Get Married, John?: Mrs Alice Green;  While Shepherds Watched: William Harding;  Horse's Tails: William Harding;  The Cunning Cobbler: George Spicer;  The Banks of the Nile: George Spicer;  The Faithful Sailor Boy: George Attrill
Rod Stradling likes to pack as much as he can on to his MT releases; this one runs to 31 songs and 81 minutes!  His previous release was of the songs collected from Harry Upton by Mike Yates but, even though the space available was stretched in true MT fashion, two items had to be omitted.  What to do about this?  Mike writes “…we decided that a follow-up CD, containing these two tracks, would be needed.  I also decided that the remaining tracks on this CD should be relevant to Harry and his songs.”

A good decision!  Otherwise we would not have his The Banks Of The Sweet Dundee which must rate amongst the very finest of this much-recorded item.

Quite a number of the remaining items come from Harry’s area in and around Sussex.  Personally, these serve to remind me of the many hours spent in the company of Louie Fuller, George Spicer and Johnny Doughty.  It also helps to give a retrospective view of just what fine singers all three were.

The opportunity has been grasped to present first-rate performances by Fred Jordan, George Attrill, Freda Palmer, and just a snatch of Bill Whiting which is enough to convince that here is a considerable singer.  Elsewhere there are performances of folk songs and ditties that will not disappoint those who the album is aimed at.

More that once Rod Stradling has been heard to proclaim that his mission of making available the best of unreleased field recordings of Britain’s traditional singers to the specialist market that he caters for must be coming to an end.  Nowhere in his two most recent releases can we hear the sound of the barrel being scraped.

Vic Smith - 4.2.16

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