Close Quarters

One of the hardest of all singing styles is a cappella. Much precision is needed and there is nowhere to hide should things go wrong.

On the British folk scene for many years there was the trio, Coope, Boyes and Simpson, who led the way with their innovative harmonies.

I’m delighted to announce that after many years of hard work, Close Quarters are now getting the wider recognition they richly deserve.

Steve and Sandra Harrison started singing 40 years ago as half of the quartet with Judith and Pete Gleave, Quartz.

When Pete passed away they then sang as a duo. Following relocation to the Lake District some ten years ago they were subsequently joined by local girl Jen Wilson from Kendal. Judith continues singing with them whenever she can but was unavailable for this this recording.

They open up with the traditional song, “April Morning”, which sets the scene for what is to follow. Sarah Matthew penned “Candlelight”, a song to help soothe away the cares of the day.

Wherever they are in the world Scots eventually gravitate towards returning home, “All Jock Tamson’s Bairns” tells the story.

Written by Bob Kettle from Merry Hell, a simple but powerful song, “Coming Home”, means different things to different people, you decide.

A song I’ve always loved, “Daddy Fox”, tells of a successful nights hunting for his family’s dinner. Roy Bailey championed this Fred Small song, “Everything Possible”, always be true to yourself and your beliefs, at the end of your life how would you like to be remembered?

John Conolly is a great performer and away from the frivolity of his myriad songs, “ I am Christmas”, written with Bill Meek is thought provoking.

Steve Harrison has penned many fine songs down the years, “Moses Trod”, a man from Rochdale whose hobby was brewing moonshine and cheating the excise man of his rightful share.

“Pilgrimage”, as sons and daughters go to fight a war, will they return. Sheffield’s Jess Arrowsmith poses the question.

Back to the east coast now and from Richard Grainger comes, “Roll River”, looking back into history how do we view the past, things change, but the river continues to flow.

How many of you know that Morecambe Bay with its tricky tides and currents has somebody who is there to help those who might find themselves in trouble crossing this notorious stretch, the title of this person is, “The Queen’s Guide”, Steve’s second song deals with this unique phenomenon.

Dreams are peculiar to each of us, “The Ship of Dreams”, in this instance is soothing and brings a calm nights sleep.

Despite all that life has thrown at her, “The Little Beggar Girl”, remains upbeat and content with her lot. This final track by the much celebrated Richard Thompson brings the CD to a fitting conclusion.

Recorded with three voices singing into one microphone, it mimics the sound you would get at a live performance.

A word too for the CD cover design by Linda Green, it is a contemporary look at one of the many Lake District fells.

From first note to last this is an elegant and no nonsense look at harmony singing of the highest order, by three people whose commitment and attention to detail is total.

I can pay them no higher compliment than that.

Close Quarters

Close Quarters