JOHNNY DICKINSON - BORDER BALLADS
CD - £14.00 (MWMCDSP63)
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Johnny's tunes and arrangements compliment this collection of poems originally collected by AC Swinburne in the 19th Century 'simmering atmospherics ... beautiful relaxed feel' (Colin Irwin, MoJo), commissioned by the Northumbria Anthology. Including the jaunty 'There Gowans Are Gay', the unusual arrangement of 'The Jolly Beggar' and the hauntingly beautiful 'Border Ballad' and 'A Jacobite's Farewell'.
ReviewPete Fyfe - www.folking.com - 09/11/2004
'Praise be'...a CD with something new to offer! Now, I'm not going to say this album will be to everyone's taste but if you're looking for something strikingly different I think you'll be hard pushed to find it. Johnny Dickinson is a great singer who hails from Northumbria and he wears this accolade with his heart on his sleeve.
He draws on his knowledge of the area by combining lyrics from A C Swinburne's collection of Border Ballads with his own tunes and in doing so treads where no man has trod before (at least to my knowledge). Unlike say Bob Fox who takes a more commercial (OK 'folky') approach utilising the original melodies Johnny comes in from a totally different tack and in doing so has more in common with say Alan Hull in his Pipedream period. In fact I could almost hear a touch of Kenny Craddock in the arrangements.
Now my reason for drawing your attention to this is to give the layman a better perspective of where (at least to me) the album falls when trying to compare it. There are several standout tracks on the album but for me it has to be 'The Jolly Beggar' with its quirky re-interpretation set to a waltz and read instead of sung. So you can forget your Jack The Lad treatment with its jolly-up cheerfulness and instead listen with new ears and a treatment that would do The Bonzo Dog Doo-Daa Band proud.
As I said opening up this review this is the kind of recording that will prove startling not least because it's fresh and exciting like the first time you came across Steve Earle or Ry Cooder. For me personally - it's blow away!
Pete Fyfe - www.folking.com - 09/11/2004