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JEZ LOWE & THE BAD PENNIES - "Bede Weeps" - Fellside FECD94

A certain atmosphere is created by this recording. A feeling of late night early morning, dimly lit rooms, the quiet and calm after a party has broken up, a sunrise shared with someone special.

The title track, "Bede Weeps", speculates how the Venerable Bede would feel today, looking over his people and lands in the English North East. "The Last Of The Widows" is sung by "bad penny" Bev Sanders whose clear cool voice is in keeping both with the song and the overall tenure of the album. The thread of Jez Lowe's humour, sometimes ironic sometimes black, runs through many of his thirteen self-written songs. In the third track, "Kid Canute", the "kid" is trying to hold back the sands of time rather than the waters of the sea. In "Greek Lightning" the couple find Whitley Bay no substitute for an Aegean dream. For songs with depth, width and breadth listen to "Just Like Moses", "These Coal Town Days", "Tear-drop Two-step", "Too Up And Too Down" and "The Last of The Widows".

There is a lightness in the band's accompaniments, with Bob Surgeoner on double bass adding a warming pulse to Billy Surgeoner's fiddle and Bev Saunders' backing vocals and percussion. Jez Lowe's singing style, with his range, character, mild "north east" accent and liking for minor keys, underlines the reflective mood and tone of his material.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 3 of The Living Tradition magazine.