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JOHN KIRKPATRICK - Carolling & Crumpets

JOHN KIRKPATRICK - Carolling & Crumpets
FLED 3060

If Christmas songs to you, stop at Bing Crosby singing Let It Snow, then this album may be something to widen your horizon or refresh your memories. On Carolling & Crumpets, John Kirkpatrick - one of the most prominent people through time on the English folk scene - presents a collection of songs based on the customs and traditions surrounding an English Midwinter. The material consists of both traditional and original compositions whereof two tracks are instrumentals. The songs illustrate the comprehensiveness and variety of English folklore. It is all the more interesting, as this does not get much attention in today's version of Christmas where glitz and glamour shine brighter than the Bethlehem star.

John Kirkpatrick plays button accordion, concertina and melodeon and on thisalbum he has with him his wife Sally Kirkpatrick on vocals. They manage to produce a lovely choral sound on the traditional English folk carol The Holly & the Ivy. The Boar's Head Carol is another favourite and then there is the very useful song That Great Christmas Pud. This is John Kirkpatrick's family recipe of a Christmas pudding (being a foreigner I have never tried my hand at making a Christmas pudding but now I just might.) Carolling and Crumpets, the title song, is the Bethlehem story seen from the humourous point of view of the animals in the stable. This is partly why there is a picture of a cow with its curious questioning eyes on the cover but it also refers to John Kirkpatrick's home audience being the cows on the field next door. (I feel a fellow partner here as I've always sung to the cows next door too - the difference is they are still my only audience!)

The sleeve notes with this CD provide in-depth information on the songs, yet they are quite an amusing read as well. When I first put the CD on I didn't quite know if I would be able to give a valued opinion, as I have no knowledge when it comes to the instruments John Kirkpatrick is so well known for. But then I looked at my daughter, eleven-months old, who with a big smile was swaying so vehemently to the music that she nearly swayed her way out of her highchair. This CD will be on throughout our Christmas.

Carolling & Crumpets is the result of John Kirkpatrick's Christmas show, which tours around various venues from the 10th of November up until the 22nd of December.

Pernille Rutzou

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This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine.