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GUEST,Banjiman Wendy Arrowsmith new CD- May 2011 (23) RE: Wendy Arrowsmith new CD- May 2011 01 Jun 11

..... and one from FATEA -

It says something for the manufacturing base of this country that songs about its destruction are now focused on chocolate, rather than coal, iron and steel and cars, though all are alluded to in the opening track, "Sweeter By The Day", from Wendy Arrowsmith's new album "Life, Love And Chocolate".

Arrowsmith is not the first folk artist to sing about the betrayal of Cadbury's and though not mentioned the similar betrayal of Rowntrees, and hopefully she won't be the last. One of the things that gives folk music its strength is the sense of justice betrayed turned into words. The lying shareholders, politicians and senior management that walk away with pockets bulging with cash, whilst claiming we're all in this together.

Trades get a number of outings on this album. Particularly intriguing are the ones about professions which government created, but which were particularly despised by people in the communities in which they operated, a good example being "Riding Officer" about an early branch of what would become customs and excise.

Wendy also turns her guns on the ongoing slavery of the 21st century, people trafficking, mainly for the sex trades, but in many places to work as field labourers and servants as well. Ironic that Slavery was only officially band in Britain during this century.

The album has a very traditional feel, one that stylewise fits in more with the transatlantic songbook and indeed some of the traditional songs covered have done the two way journey across the pond., with others taking on what sounds like a more Scottish air.

Gerry McNeice gets to do the behind desk work as well as playing on the album, on which other notable guests include Sarah McQuaid, Will Pound, PJ Wright and the very much in demand Kat Gilmore.

"Life, Love And Chocolate" pretty much covers all the essentials , and does it well. An enjoyable listen that has plenty of variety to keep the interest and to allow for the picking of favourites, though my wife might suggest the words in the title are in reverse order :-)

Neil King

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