Link to Living Tradition Homepage





VARIOUS ARTISTS - Songs For The Voiceless

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Songs For The Voiceless
Haystack Records HAYCD006

The WW1 Soldier’ was, of course, 8 million individuals, each with a name, each with a story... So writes Jon Boden in the introduction to this project, and it is a tiny few of those voices which are recreated and celebrated here - a headmaster from the village next to where I taught for many years; a private who produced illustrated diaries but couldn’t get them published; Frank, who kept the horror to himself; a gardener from Heligan; Harry, who returned at the end of the war to marry his sweetheart; the enthusiastic young recruit who changed to one who hated the war; Staff Nurse Nellie Spindler, who was the only female buried amongst 10,000 men in a Belgium cemetery - all are given their voice.

There are others who come to life through the expertise of Bella Hardy, The Young ‘Uns, Josienne Clarke, Gilmore and Roberts, Michael J Tinkler, Ian Stephenson and Tom Oakes, with Jon Boden contributing a song from his Folk Song A Day project. Good musicians all, but the question has to be about jumping on bandwagons etc. No such thing! The artists’ sincerity comes through strongly, as does their commitment to get these stories told. No picking a favourite track or performer here, all are favourites. All are of a high quality and show what a wealth of talent there is around.

But what makes this special is that some songs are about personal family members, whilst others are based on letters, diaries and other archive material. All the characters come to life through the expertise of the performers, giving the voiceless a voice - and what stories they have to tell. All are still relevant today and begging us to listen to what they are telling us.

The CD booklet is full of their stories, with photos wherever possible. The image on the outer cover, by Katy Coope, cleverly links music to the image of the trenches, whilst Elly Lucas has done her usual excellent job providing photos of the performers. Andy Bell has done what he does best too - made sure the artistes all sound their best.

All proceeds from the CD are going to The Poppy Appeal. Try to get to one of these gigs leading up to Remembrance Sunday. You will not be disappointed.

Dave Beeby

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 104 of The Living Tradition magazine.