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THE HOTWELLS HOWLERS - Love & Liberty  Songs Of The Quantocks

THE HOTWELLS HOWLERS - Love & Liberty Songs Of The Quantocks
Supernova SN5

When I saw the name of the group of performers on this double CD I immediately thought ‘Bristol’, remembering the early 1960’s when I went over there to sing at a club in the Hotwells Road run by Paul Carter, a pioneer of the folk revival who’s recent death I note with sadness.

I was right, the 11 singers and musicians who make up the Howlers are Bristol based, hosts of a monthly music session, and colleagues in a project to make songs collected in the area of the Quantocks better known. They draw upon the works of Cecil Sharp, The Hammonds, and Phyllis M. Marshall who passed her material on to Janet Blunt to include them in her manuscript collection. As well as these collectors they gained material from the tune books of one William Winter (1774-1861), a shoemaker and fiddler of the area. His books are now held by the Halsway Manor Society, good to see the contents being brought back to life in this way.

The Howlers launch into their songs and tunes with tremendous gusto, they clearly have a love of traditional song. The playing of the instrumentalists is excellent throughout, and though some singers are better than others, all of them deliver with commendable honesty. Familiar titles abound, but several have unusual tunes, or texts. There are verses in One Night As I Laid On My Bed that I’ve never heard before, and I’ve been singing that song myself for ages, and I’ll guarantee you’ve not come across The Rosabella like the one bellowed and yodelled here! Try it.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 94 of The Living Tradition magazine.