A Review of the Bob Fox CD
"Borrowed Moments"

"Borrowed Moments"
by Bob Fox

Copyright 2003 TSCD544
Topic Records

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 3/04
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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We interrupt this CD review to bring you the following announcement:

In the liner notes of this release, Bob Fox writes that the late Ewan MacColl displayed a talent for writing songs about those who, because of political and economic forces, find themselves unemployed: miners, fishermen and the like. I say it's a pity we've been unable to get Ewan to provide us with a heaven-sent Tony Blair tune.

Thank you for enduring the momentary digession.

Bob Fox, although new to this reviewer, is a veteran of the U.K. folk music scene. Provided here is just short of 60 minutes of traditional offerings, plus a collection of songs from his musical mates: Chris Leslie, Steven Tilston, Vin Garbutt, Ralph McTell, Jez Lowe and the aforementioned MacColl.

While there is no single theme coalescing the material, tragedy and sadness manifest most often.

The opening cut, "Virginia," refers not to someone's surname but rather, a destination for English criminals sentenced to indentured servitude, a more palatable term for slavery. "My Love Is In America" features a young couple separated because of divergent economic paths. The man heads to England for work while his love and her family sail across the Atlantic.

MacColl's "Shoals of Herring," depicts the diminution of nature's bounty, stemming from an industry globalization that provides what seems to be more fishers than fish. "She Waits And Weeps," written by Vin Garbutt, was borne of the loss of lives in a North Sea oil accident. Jez Lowe's artistry is on display with "The Last Of The Widows," about the death of the final spouse of the 80-something coal miners killed long ago in a disaster. This is a most effective, if melancholy, trilogy.

Fox offers a compelling rendition of Ralph McTell's tale of the Balkans conflict of not that long ago in "Peppers And Tomatoes." Human connections too often fall on the swords of blood, religion, geography, et. al.

A bit of humor leavens the release with "The Whitby Tailor," where a touch or two of the drink leads to behavior that will soon be regretted. In U.K. parlance, 'Uncle Joe' must be what 'Mr. Johnson' is here in the states.

The key to this type of release--previously released material--is the choice of selections. Are they worth a repeat effort? In this case, yes. Fox has made mostly solid inclusions, songs deserving of another life. Combine that with his easy-to-listen-to voice and a worthwhile CD is the end result.

Bob Fox, on vocals, guitar, piano and bouzouki, is assisted by annA rydeR on piano accordion and trumpet; Norman Holmes on whistle and flute; Neil Harland on double bass; and Chuck Fleming on viola.

Track List:

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