Like many folk artists, brothers Ivor and Kevan Bundell – multi-instrumentalists both – have a passionate interest in the lives of working people today and in history.  (They were inspired by Robin Williamson and The Incredible String Band, another thing they share with countless performers in the folk world and beyond.)  Small Talk says so much about our frequent efforts at saying virtually nothing, while opener Learning The Ropes touchingly charts a life of hard work, modest rewards and tragic loss, emphasising that we never stop learning often difficult lessons until the day we die.  If this deals with the everyday type of life then The Andrea Gail deals with death in a manner that was utterly real but light years away from most of our realities.  Based on Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm (the searing, compassionate book rather than the film) it captures one of its main themes.  Many of the fishermen know that death at sea is almost inevitable if you keep pushing the odds by going out again and again, and that fish are bought with men’s lives.  The sea also features strongly in Farewell To Old England, which charts the rise and decline of the Royal Navy, and Jack’s Lament, an unflinching look at the conditions facing the thousands of press-ganged sailors who served in that navy.  Elsewhere Ivor’s song-writing and rich lead vocals turn him into the highwayman Dick Turnip(!!), a host of Romano-Brit’s and Utzi, the prehistoric Iceman recovered 10 years ago from an Alpine glacier.  Accompaniment from Kevan on vocals and a host of instruments is superb and more familial help is to be found in Shamini Bundell’s fine keyboard work, Paul Gateshill (acoustic and electric guitars) and Lindsay Brown (vocals) rounding off the accomplished support.  For information – including how to get hold of this gentle, thoughtful album – go to   



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