JUNE CONCERT - Folk at the Barlow

June saw a concert featuring two trios who are both firm fa- vourites at Folk at the Barlow. : Caffrey, Madge, McGurk (CMM) supported by Dandelion Train, Nick Caffrey, Robin Madge and Ed McGurk, CMM, delivered a variety of material to the polished standard that we have come to expect of them : exquisite and unusual harmonies on songs such as "Icy Acres" and the "Corpus Christie Carol", accomplished yet inventive musical interludes and accompaniments from Ed on guitars and Robin on concertinas as in "Coire Lagan" (written by Robin) and "The Hapton Valley Mining Disaster" (written by Nick), and stunning vocals from all three throughout the two sets. One of the many strengths of this trio is that it has three gifted vocalists, all capable of taking the lead or providing sympathetic backing and harmony, each with his own niche, and a knack of choosing or writing the greatest of folk song. They would never perform anything that is mediocre. The night featured some of their greatest hits such as Stuart Marson’s "Over the Lancashire Hills" and Andrew McKay’s "Dead Reckoning" both with choruses that the audience greatly enjoyed rendering, and some new numbers such as Ewan McColl’s "Schooldays Over" which included vocal solos, three-part harmony and an instrumental break. When delivering well-known folk standards there is always a different take : Simon and Garfunkel are a hard act to follow but CMM's new rendition of "Scarborough Fair" excels because it tells the whole story and demonstrates harmony at its best. CMM finished off the night with Steve Harrison's "Time for the Leaving", a haunting leaving shanty with a very singable chorus - they should perform it more often! Considering this was a short-notice concert with little preparation, (standing in for a Covid-smitten Granny's Attic) the professionality of their act was amazing and the entertainment value second to none.

Dandelion Train proclaim themselves to be a raggle-taggle multi-instrumental acoustic folk mix of musical genres, songs, tunes and original compositions of Dandelion Train themselves. This is a mastery in understatement. Their gentleness and modesty comes across in their performance. They are Sue Kennedy, Gerry Kennedy and Steve Higgins. With Sue's beautiful haunting voice, flute and whistle playing, together with expert musicianship on guitars and harmonica from Gerry and Steve, this trio deserve acclaim and much more recognition. Their appeal is wider than just folk circles. There is something indefinable and magical about their act, as shown in Sue’s “Fairy Song” and in "Women of Ireland" which was especially well-performed. They finished their set with their own lovely version of “Wild Mountain Thyme”. A most moving performance.

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