Dave & Julie Evardson, A Ramble On The Viking Way (own release 2003)

It is nice every now and again to hear a recording of what I call 'real folk music'. I define real folk music as what you might expect to hear from singers performing acoustically without the aid of any P.A. system in a small folk club, found just about anywhere in the U.K these days. Imagine if you can, what it might be like if a modern day Cecil Sharp set out to capture folk songs that had never been heard before, using only a simple portable tape recorder. Imagine if you can, as his journey took him to many different areas of the UK, how the songs will have varied within that region. This is basically what you have with this album.

Dave & Julie Evardson come from Cleethorpes on the northeast coast of Lincolnshire. Dave Evardson has written all the songs on this album and many of the songs are based on the lives and work of the people from this part of the UK. Dave was born in Grimsby, so as you would expect, some of the songs reflect the now much depleted fishing industry that was once a major business along this coastline. To add a little variation to the theme, 'A Ramble on the Viking Way' is a song about the pattern of ancient bridleways and footpaths that extends through Lincolnshire and into Leicestershire. There is a simple love song, and there are songs from life in Lincolnshire. Other songs touch on subjects like the cod war with Iceland, gypsies, traffic jams, commuting to work, trawler engineers, fishermen, and disaster at sea; there's even a cheeky music hall bawdy comic song. Both Dave and Julie sing well and Dave has proudly produced the album himself. The songs have been recorded using the minimum of studio effects with virtually no reverberation to enhance the voice. This may not be to everyone's taste, but it leaves you with a more honest recording.

'Lincolnshire Family' this is a song based on a Latvian refugee's view of starting a new life in Lincolnshire in the late 1800s. It won first prize in the 2002 BBC Radio Lincolnshire "Write a Song for Lincolnshire" contest. There are 14 tracks in all and at least 2 of them stand out and make the album well worth having. At track 4 you find 'The Forty Thieves', a song which Vin Garbutt has recorded and made his own. The final song on the album, 'The Grand Old Ladies', reflects a name given to the trawlers by the skippers and trawlermen when they are lying peacefully in dock between trips. The song has a great harmony chorus, and would enhance any singer's repertoire.

In my humble opinion, this is a good home produced album and there is a lot of new material on this album that professional singers could do well to pick up on. Unfortunately the album is not released by any of the big name record companies and can only be obtained direct from Dave and Julie Evardson. At the time of this writing there is no Web site for Dave & Julie Evardson, so you can not buy the album online. Pity really, as this is one album every aspiring singer should have.

[Peter Massey]

For details on purchasing A Ramble On The Viking Way, email Dave Evardson