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A.L. LLOYD - An Evening with A.L. Lloyd
Fellside Recordings FECD220

This exquisite CD gives us most of a performance by Bert Lloyd recorded at the Top Lock Folk Club, Runcorn, by John Kaneen in 1972.  Kaneen deserves a knighthood for making the recording available, as does Paul Adams for cleaning it up and presenting it so skilfully and dare I say lovingly, also providing a perceptive essay and liner notes.

Lloyd's delivery is invariably upbeat, enthusiastic and slightly breathless, which makes it very human.  His introductions - 'This is the daftest old bugger in folk song, I think" - are usually brief and to the point but also illuminate his enthusiasm for the music.  After the frivolity of Wallaby Stew he explains that he has been asked to sing a song he doesn't think he has ever performed before - then delivers a stunning Brigg Fair. Some of the enjoyment is nostalgic. Introducing Prince Heathen he says, "This is different from Martin's."  And you are not likely these days to hear someone say, "I've got a set of old magic lantern slides that illustrate this ballad." But then when he sings Lord Bateman, you realise what a bloody good singer he was. 

There is also a fine example of his story-telling ability, setting the tale of the kush maker in his early days on a factory whaling ship, giving an air of authenticity which draws you into the story. He finishes with a shanty sung slowly - more appropriate to manual labour as he explains. And he finishes on a highly satisfactory note, with the audience clamouring for more. It must have been a marvellous night. It's at times like this modern technology doesn't seem so bad.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.