Review Archive

‘Let The Wind Blow High Or Low’ - Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith - utterly absorbing, undeniably English voices

(September 15, 2014)

The essence of traditional folk music and song lies in its heritage, its malleability and resilience. The Let The Wind Blow High Or Lowdepth of tradition endures, remains flexible enough to bend not break, responding to innovation and invention. Each time I hear new interpretations I relish its unwavering longevity. The debut album ‘Let The Wind Blow High Or Low’ from Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith delivers traditional and original folk, laced with tunes from Ireland, Scotland and America, adding fine touches of innovation along the way. They explore the robust allure of narrative folk songs that thrives with artists who remain true to their roots but determinedly delve into wider directions.

The duo acknowledge a distinct influence from the songs and singers of East Anglia, the place of their collective heritage, building the backbone of their sound on an amalgam of banjo and guitar overlaid with utterly absorbing, undeniably English voices. Their somewhat eclectic journey through folk wanders widely and variously, including the defining and desperate tale of those who laboured under this country’s once unspeakable working conditions in ‘The Chemicals Worker’s Song’ through the mournful ‘Let The Wind Blow High Or Low’ to the oft-sung but little-known history of ‘The Bonnie Ship The Diamond’. They also offer a discerning take on Ewan MacColl’s ‘White Dove’ here combined with a dashing fiddle tune ‘Wynchurch Junction’, their own interpretation of the powerful sentiments of ‘Keep Your Hand On The Plough’ and ‘What You Do With What You’ve Got’ by American singer-songwriter, and Civil Rights activist, Si Khan.

Alongside Jimmy Aldridge (vocals, banjo) and Sid Goldsmith (vocals, guitar) on ‘Let The Wind Blow High Or Low’ are Olly Craigan (bodhrán) and Aaron Catlow (fiddle). As a debut album this one’s a cracker. The folk music of these islands has in its inimitable way thrown up yet two more exponents of the art that will ensure its continued permanence. You should definitely add this album to your collection, find it here: www.jimmyandsid.com

Reviewer: Tim Carroll

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