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JOHN CONOLLY & BILL MEEK "By Humber's Brown Water" MECON1

Now here's a rarity, a double CD with forty-three songs by two musicians singing of their home patch.

Bill Meek & John Conolly were in at the start of the '60s folk revival in their native Grimsby. By the '70s they were part of the nationally known Broadside, going on in the '80s as Rational Anthem, often working in productions with the Remould Theatre.

Right from the start the pair were creating songs reflecting and celebration the fishing and freezing industries and the hardy people who work therein. It's not all happy nostalgia, they have a clear-eyed view of things in their home patch, witness the album's title - "Humber's Brown Water" - not about "clear" or "sparkling" there. Spot on, boys.

The songs have lyrical strength, and tunes that stick in the mind. A few titles to illustrate the point: Fiddler's Green, Punch & Judy Man, Northern Trawl, Lumper's Life, Grimsby Lads - and more, all straight forwardly sung and played, as they should be. No wonder that some are now known internationally.

So, pointed and perceptive songs, sung by their composers and friends, nearly all about Grimsby life. Admirable, but a touch parochial perhaps? No Sir! Worth buying? Yes Sir! These two Grimsby lads do honour to their home town and give us fine entertainment along the way.

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 21 of The Living Tradition magazine.