East Anglia's Folk Magazine
May - July 2011
A strange yet utterley logical title - Ruth and Sadie's initials, yet there's not a hint of a rasp anywhere in the singing. This is two part harmony singing at its most delightful, two sisters voices matching magically, with Ruth holding lower parts and Sadie singing higher lines, as only voices within a folk family can be; for folk family they certainly are. In the very first song Master Smith said to John, my imagination was transported back more than four decades to the West Riding folk clubs of the 1960s and Bill Price - the 'Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman', Ruth and Sadie's dad, from whom many of these songs came, particularly the Luddite frame breaking songs from the early 19th Century. The tune for Cropper Lads was a very pleasant surprise, but Foster's Mill, the Pony Driving Song, Jolly Country Lads and one or two others rushed back with a refreshing pleasure that only complete forgetfulness can bring. The harmonies in the slower songs, particularly Catch me if you can and The Eskdale Hare are very evocative. Ruth's English Concertina playing is well up to expectations - you would have most likely seen her as one of the lead instruments in The Witchmen's band - on this set her playing adds real depth to Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman and Barleycorn especially. The set is completed by Breaths from the American a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock. Even on this track there's no mistaking Yorkshire - Ruth and Sadie sing with the same lilt in which they talk, as all good folk singers should. This is a really enjoyable CD - hopefully it will bring Ruth and Sadie a good deal of work in both clubs and festivals.
June - July 2011
It is refreshing indeed to listen to two beautifully matched voices singing fabulous harmonies in a way I have not heard since Norma and Lal Waterson!
RaSP is a collection of mainly traditional songs encompassing different tempos and styles sung by Ruth and Sadie Price who sing collectively as well as unaccompanied. Minimal concertina input adds another texture to the performance on 3 songs but does not detract from, what I feel to be, the main voice focus of this CD.
The first track, Master Smith Said to John, learned from their father Bill, enables the listener to enjoy the speed and thrills of horses and dogs running together through clever arrangement and tempo of the song.
Forster's Mill and Cropper Lads are politically driven songs reflecting rebellion from mill and factory workers at the beginning of the 19th Century against the introduction of machines which threw craftsmen out of work. Both are powerful songs. Unfortunately I feel that something of the rawness and passion of Ruth and Sadie's voices, so prevalent in their live performances, are missing here. Perhaps it's a case of 'lost in production'?
Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman reminiscent of music hall, conjures up a vivid image of a countryman's visit to the city and is full of humour.
Breaths uses the words by a Senegalese poet and the music by an Afro American choral group and is a beautifully reflective song to end on.
This is a bright, imaginative and well structured CD that I am glad to have in my collection.
Ruth & Sadie are the daughters of Wendy and the late Bill Price, (a grand singer), and I haven’t seen them since they were little girls. Now they are two grown up young ladies presenting this, their second CD. Have they inherited the flair and commitment that their dad brought to his singing? By gum they have! Bill’s big song was Fine Old Yorkshire Gentleman, his “signature tune” say Ruth and Sadie in their notes. His daughters give it a sprightly workout, with just the right accent, and a feel for the music hall style of delivery needed for this song.
In a 12 item set of mainly traditional songs, there are two exceptions, these being The Eskdale Hare, words by Gus Gomersall, tune by Steve Walker, and Breaths, learned by the girls from the iconic Afro-American women’s group Sweet Honey In The Rock. The rest of the set has several Yorkshire based or collected songs such as Master Smith Said To John, and Squire Frith, given to them by Bob Auty, an ex Holme Valley Beagler. Yorkshire’s industrial history shows up in Cropper Lads and Fosters Mill, songs from the days of the “Croppers”, the Yorkshire name for Luddites.
Ruth & Sadie sing unaccompanied but for a touch of concertina here and there. Their voices record well, sweet but strong and with an edge when required. They also have a good grasp of the words of their songs which makes the stories easy to follow. By the way, the lower case “a” in RaSP is deliberate, and since no label credit is given I assume this is self-released. All in all, an album for them to be proud of and for listeners to enjoy.