A Review of the Stitherum CD
"Oh look, there's an aardvark"
"Oh look, there's an aardvark"STTUM 003
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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
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
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
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: email@example.com
Track List: no timings shown
- 1. The Night is Young (Colum Sands)
- 2. The Aardvark (Dave Boulton & Jeff Parton)
- 3. The Broken Years (Anthony John Clarke)
- 4. A Proper Sort of Gardener (Maggie Holland)
- 5. High Part of the Town (Jez Lowe)
- 6. If I Had A Son (Phil Millichip)
- 7. Weave and Worry (Jez Lowe)
- 8. Catch The Wind (Donovan Leitch)
- 9. White Dress (Swarbrick/McTell)
- 10. Three Drunken Maidens (Trad)
- 11. Last Christmas (Sue Dewsbury)
- 12. T'owd Witch Rag (Mike Dewsbury)
- 13. The Cloud Factory (Bill Caddick)
- 14. You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis & Charles Mitchell)
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