various artists,
Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh & All:
Folk Songs Sung in the West Country

(Veteran, 2004)

Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh & All is a rustic, endearing collection of songs from Somerset, Cornwall and Devon in England's West Country.

These are songs long remembered, and lovingly sung, by the geniune article: folksingers from the region who have guarded these songs -- some higly original and others less so -- in their memories for decades.

The artists, George Withers (Somerset), Bob Cann (Devon), Charlie Pitman and Tommy Morrison (Cornwall) sing about country life in the southwestern peninsula of Britain, an area that is in many ways distinct from the rest of England (the native dialect includes a hard letter "r," which is almost "North American" sounding) and includes, at its Cornish tip, a Celtic heritage that is not far in the past.

Songs such as "Nobody Noticed Me" (Cann), about a man who is about the size of a mouse, are clever and original. And "My Meatless Day" (Pitman) is a funny take on the West Country farmer's diet, hardly a vegetarian's delight! "The Watercress Girl" (Morrison) and "Someone in Somerset" (Withers) are nice love ballads, compellingly rendered by the artists.

These traditional performers, recorded in their own home locales, have preserved on this recording the sounds of days gone by in these field recordings of interest to anyone who loves English songs. An informative booklet is included with notes on the performers.

by David Cox
4 March 2006