There are some singers who remind me why my interest in English song remains strong after all these years, despite enthusiasms for many other aspects of the traditional music and dance scene. Among these I would place Bill Whaley & Dave Fletcher, The Wilsons, and Keith Kendrick and Lynne Heraud in this league, straight down the line, superb exponents of the quality song, delivered with sincerity and style.
Ruth Price and her sister Sadie Greenwood are firmly in this select group and their first CD of close harmony songs, mostly from a family collection, has much to commend it.
Ruth and Sadie are daughters of Bill Price from Dewsbury who was very popular on the Yorkshire scene in the 70's. I remember him being a great favourite at the Holy Ground in Bubwith, in the East Riding - frequently introduced by the MC Harvey Lakin as a 'Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman'.
There are a number of Bill's songs on the CD - Old Maui, The Manchester Cornstalk, and Fortune's Wheel being just a sample. The opening track 'Rothwell Debtor's Prison', noted in the annals of 'Wakefield House Of Correction' also came from Bill, and mum Wendy wrote the tune. 'The Fisherlads of Whitby', which is possibly the finest track, was found as a broad sheet and Wendy Price also wrote the tune for this.
The songs are mostly from Yorkshire and the North of England but a few surprise sneak in; 'Shrinking Violet' was written by American singer Jane Voss, and 'I Will Guide Thee' is a spiritual chant. An interesting version of the 'Cruel Mother', entitled 'Greenwood Sideo' was learnt from Lisa Null, who used to visit the family in the late 70's.
Ruth currently lives in exile down in the swamps of the Peterborough Fens, but Sadie is still native. The voices and harmonies are just exemplary and I urge all Tykes clubs to book them and readers to buy the CD in hundreds.
Authentic stuff with a little edge to it - you know the sort of thing.