A Review of the Stitherum CD
"Oh look, there's an aardvark"

"Oh look, there's an aardvark"
by Stitherum

Website: http://www.angelfire.com/folk/gainsboroughfolk
email: mandsd@yahoo.com

This review is written by Dai Woosnam, daigress@hotmail.com, 8/07

Gosh, the tempus has been fugiting! It is now nearly three years since I wrote the following when reviewing Stitherum's last CD, "Threads":

"...Stitherum are Sue & Mike Dewsbury, a husband-and-wife duo originating from the Robin Hood area of England. But they have moved from their native Nottinghamshire over the border into neighbouring Lincolnshire: just like dear old Robin, resplendent in his clothes of Lincoln green, escaping the cruel Sheriff of Nottingham.…'

Well, 34 months later, the status quo has not changed, and this duo remains domiciled in Lincolnshire: and remains a vibrant force on the East Midland folk scene.

And this album, just like "Threads", is marvellously representative of what they ARE as people: ARE as a stage-act too.

And that is this: they are classic WYSIWYG. No attempt to be something they aren't. No airs and graces. Just the two of them (but with some studio layering of accompaniments by multi-instrumentalist Mike, and praise be, a touch of double-tracked vocal harmony by Sue, a harmony singer to die for! Pity she did not give us MORE of her excellence in this department.)

And on the subject of "praise be": reviewing their last album I bemoaned the fact that they had not recorded the song above all others that lights up their stage performance. (I was referring to the one Jez Lowe song that will last the course over all the others of his considerable output: viz. "High Part of the Town".)

And guess what? They've included it here! Truly, my cup runneth over.

I really liked this album a lot. Some very strong songs, apart from the Lowe chef d'oeuvre. One of my all time favourite songs is here: Maggie Holland's "A Proper Sort Of Gardener".

What truly extraordinary use of language: it is amazing how Holland says so much in a single stanza. It is a masterclass to all budding songwriters.

Then there is the almost-as-great Phil Millichip song “If I Had A Son”, which Sue delivers with the Vin Garbutt pronouns, singing “me” for “my”: which, unless I have my ears on wrong, I never thought was a feature of her Nottinghamshire native heath! And it certainly has nothing to do with Phil Millichip's South Wales coalfield! (How do I know? Easy. The “Bedwas Colliery” referred to in the song, could be seen from my bedroom window, and its hooter would wake me every morning!)

But, hey, I have no problem with her Garbuttese! She still delivers the song superbly, as she does the fine Bill Caddick song “The Cloud Factory”, toward the end.

And mentioning that, brings me to the liner notes.

Of that last-mentioned song, Sue says, “Another one for the tissues”.

Now who would disagree with that?

But, I would have much preferred Sue to tell us in a sentence or two that Caddick's dad worked in the coal power station on the River Severn near Ironbridge: and thus the white smoke belching out earned it the sobriquet of “The Cloud Factory”. (Whilst listeners to CDs should not be led by the nose, such a piece of information I'd have thought was vital in one's understanding of that fine song.)

And a further comment on the liner notes: I note that she gives the late Governor Jimmie Davis, co-authorship credit for “You Are My Sunshine”. As we all know (doubtless, Stitherum too), moves are afoot to give a third man – Paul Rice – the proper credit. There is a large body of opinion that says that the Louisiana Governor bought the song's copyright from Mr Rice (and if he did of course, there was nothing illegal in that, even if morally one finds it sad that Rice's authorship should be artistically usurped in this way), and that the world should know.

Well, I am doing MY bit to tell them of this feeling, right now!

Check out this link:


But back to Stitherum. A good solid piece of work. Well worth the buying.

To buy, write to Sue at: mandsd@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.angelfire.com/folk/gainsboroughfolk

Dai Woosnam
Grimsby, England

Track List: no timings shown

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