20 June 2024

Music for the people, by the people

CD REVIEW by Sam Hawcroft

Let the People Sing is an apt title for a double CD of music by members of a local folk club that has the community very much at its heart.

The Beggar’s Folk Club, which takes place at the Crown & Anchor pub in Kilnsea every Thursday night, is free to attend and its organisers are behind numerous charity initiatives.

Now, they have released a double album that showcases the people who are the lifeblood of the folk club – its regular members who attend week in, week out, and those who are its biggest supporters.

There is a regular roster of booked guest artists all year round – and these are also free to enjoy –most of whom will have albums for sale. This time, though, the regulars are being given a chance to show off their own considerable talents, and 12 acts have two songs each on this rich and varied production.

They include organiser Kevin Young himself, whose speciality is Irish ballads, and there’s a lovely version of Donegal Rain with Sharon Garner. John Pencheon also brings a bit more Irish flavour with a rollicking Rocky Road to Dublin and the classic ballad The Parting Glass.

There’s some more quality guitar-playing from Roger Nunn, whose gentle fingerpicking and soft voice are mesmerising, while Kilnsea’s Andrew Wells – a popular singer-songwriter in the area also known for the bands Morning Dew and the Pub Lads – also has a couple of his own songs. Half My Farm’s in Holland Now shows off his typical whimsical humour, as well as the more reflective Sands of Spurn.

Bernie Wood – a veritable country legend in these parts – gives us a couple of classic tracks, while the haunting a cappella singing of Anne Rees is in stark contrast to some of the more “full” band tracks from the likes of accomplished duo Oakleas Rise.

One of my favourite songs is there – Eric Bogle’s The Band Played Waltzing Matilda, very nicely done by Jim Blake and Lorraine Clark, and there are also a few pop favourites, such a Rick Monks’ Last Thing on My Mind, Ray Hawker’s Cat’s in the Cradle and Barry Jackson’s Wagon Wheel.

I said there were 12 acts… there are really 13, as the first CD features a special bonus of Bob Parkes playing Cherry Pink & Apple Blossom on the harmonica. Bob is a Beggar’s legend, for sure – and he can always be found there playing either solo or enhancing other acts.

This is a really diverse production that is the next best thing to actually attending a Beggars Folk Club night – it is for the people, by the people. It’s real, and it’s raw – which is just how it should be.

Let the People Sing was recorded by Paul Davig, a Withernsea town councillor, and mixed by Stuart McCleod of Oakleas Rise.

Copies are available from Kevin Young for £10 each (call 07710 049123) or from the Beggar’s Folk Club, and all proceeds go to the Beggar’s Fund, which supports a range of charitable endeavours across our region.