Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label

Richard is a singer and fiddle player who has a fierce pride in, and a clear affinity for, the music and traditions of his native Cornwall (he was born in that county’s clay district). His keen interest in his musical roots of this music was further nurtured by his studies at Newcastle’s folk music degree, and he has developed a penchant for singing songs that tell the stories of the people who shaped Cornwall’s unique identity, eventually composing several of his own in that vein.

Dig Where You Stand, Richard’s debut album, contains four of his original songs and a couple of self-penned tunes, as well as two songs for which Richard has written a melody to go with traditional words, topped up with Richard’s own admirably individual takes on a small handful of traditional songs. The self-penned songs certainly stand out, being thought-provoking offerings that, while keenly responsive to the heritage and history of Cornwall, nevertheless have their own personal slant and interesting stories to tell. For instance, The Clayworker’s Strike Of 1913 relates one of those locally-important events that have a resonance beyond their immediate community yet tend to be overlooked by the history books, while The Flower Of St. Day was inspired by a newspaper account of the bizarre plight of a “bal maiden” (yes, you need to read the liner notes, which happily are very good). Smoking Chimneys offers a more positive outlook on the current situation of industry in Cornwall, and contrasts well with Mike O’Connor’s eerie masterpiece Geevor Lads, which receives a powerful reading from Richard with some particularly effective scoring for brass quartet (the award-winning Camborne Youth Band, whose characterful playing also graces a number of other tracks including a fetching setting of the traditional Ten Thousand Miles).

Richard himself is blessed with a good strong voice, slightly reminiscent in tone of that of Jim Causley – who coincidentally sings and/or plays accordion as a guest on three of the CD’s songs – while his fiddle playing is both stylish and distinctive. Other instrumental backing comes from Steve Hunt (guitar) and Phil Innes (percussion); one most appropriate and rather ingenious element of the latter’s contribution being the deployment, on Richard’s rendition of Twanky Dillo, of the very anvil made by Richard’s own grandfather, struck with chisels that he also made!

This is a lively and well balanced album, maintaining one’s interest throughout – and it’s nicely presented too.

David Kidman

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 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.