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1020 - The Term Time Is Comin Roon

1020 - The Term Time Is Comin Roon
Tradition Bearers LTCD1020

I’ll have to ask you to indulge me a little in this review; it’s a collection of bothy ballads, and this is a genre that’s fascinated me for years. Coming as I do from an agricultural background, the vivid pictures painted in these songs speak to any farmer very directly, especially when delivered by a singer of Geordie’s calibre. One aspect of all bothy ballads that separates them from almost any other group is that they deal in extraordinary detail with all the aspects of the daily lives of farm labourers - and in the not too distant past too, so there’s a tangible connection with experiences still in living memory.

Geordie is “weel kent” in today’s bothy singing community, which seems to have a well-developed ability to immerse its participants in its culture and tradition that rubs off on the singing. And it’s noticeable that many of its finest exponents, like Geordie, have rural roots. He also has an excellent and distinctive voice that’s well-suited to these songs.

There are 18 examples here, some old friends and others not so familiar, all sung in Doric, and covering every shade of emotion and experience. The recording is bookended by the classic Drumdelgie as a starter and its recently composed counterpart, which will sound depressingly familiar to any farmer of today, Drumdelgie Nae Mair. Personal highlights were Geordie’s renditions of Sleepytoun and Jock Bruce O The Fornet, while others like Mains O Culsh and Cameloun were new to me. The quality of the recording is clear and clean, and the booklet gives the words (which is helpful if you’re not tuned in to Doric) and informative background to the songs.

This is a very rich diet, and with so many songs on the CD, it’s possible to dip in and out at will. There aren’t too many recordings of bothy ballads out there, and this one is a valuable addition to the Tradition Bearers series. Would I have bought it if I hadn’t been given a copy to review? Definitely!

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.