This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/02
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Talk about a voice! Scotland-born Enoch Kent's age-burnished vocals (might whiskey have also played a role?) vividly transport the listener to musical gatherings around the family hearth or in the town pub of his native land. One certainly experiences a feeling of intimacy, as if Kent is sitting with relatives or a table of mates, sharing his songs.
Possessing an engaging Scottish burr, his singing is the genuine stuff. He clearly enunciates his lyrics so understanding the words is no problem. Having lived in Canada for quite some time has apparently reduced his accent. What does provide some difficulty on this release, but also an undeniable authenticity, is the use of dialect as the songs were written. But most listeners will soon get the hang of it and glide along fairly smoothly.
He opens with the title cut, "I'm A Workin' Chap." Honoring the working poor for the effort required to make an honest, if gritty living, he also pointedly states that this is also the group most drastically effected by layoffs and closures. Those who make such life and community-altering decisions generally go on about their business with negligible effect. His summary of the laborer's life:
"...He has a willin' heart and a coat gae thin, he's been workin' life oot just to keep life in"He cutely labels "Van Diemen's Land," a tune detailing the sentencing of poachers to hard time away in Australia, as a Scottish transportation song.
The traditional "The Floor of Northumberland" is a tale of loveless treachery, countered by the message of loyalty and fidelity expressed in "Collier Laddie."
Kent uses my "My Father's Cause" to wonder how his late father, who usually was able to make sense of world events to his son, would explain the terrorist actions that harm innocents. He sings:
"...An' then he died and he left tae me a world I cannae explainA solemn fiddle solo, lending further gravitas, concludes this selection.
Where men plant bombs near children's cots and leave them dead and maimed..."
The humorous "A Drunk Man Looks At The Weavin'," offers praise and importance to those who makes our clothes:
"...A fool once said that 'clothes do not maketh any man'In "Tales Of A Favourite Lass," a group of older men gather in a pub and recall their checkered amorous pasts. Kent sings:
But I ha'e an argument that's on the other haun
And if ye'd ever seen a naked Pope you'd laugh 'til ye couldnae staun
God bless the raiments crafted by the weavers..."
"...There's tales about young Margery and how some went upstairs with Kate"Laird O' The Dinty Doon" moves from tragic to uplifting as a Lord takes advantage of a young lady but eventually annoints her the Lady of his estate.
And they laugh 'til the tears run down their cheeks about the widow and their drunken mate
An' each one has a special night, he ca's the best one of his life
And the favourite lass that he spent it with and no man talks of his wife..."
There is a minimalist-backing to most songs and a number are sung a cappella. For it is the voice featured here and justly so. This is a charming release, one for which we should be thankful that Enoch Kent finally recorded his musical heritage.
Kent, on vocals and guitar, is assisted by Ian Bell on guitar; Shelly Brown on flute and background vocals; Lawrence Stevenson on fiddle and background vocals; Tam Kearney on background vocals and Tim Harrison on guitar.
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