A Review of the Tudur Huws Jones CD
"dal I drio (Still Trying)"
"dal I drio (Still Trying)"
Sain Records SCD2417
by Tudur Huws Jones
This review is written by Dai Woosnam, email@example.com, 4/05
Inside of Wales, Tudur needs no
introduction, having performed down the years with all the leading
lights of the Welsh language Folk Revival, and also made his mark as a
member of several groups, most notably “4 yn y bar”.
The songs are all self-penned and in the Welsh language, with the
occasional traditional melody thrown in. Of them, Tudur says in his
liner notes “My aim in putting this collection together was to try to
reflect all the musical elements which have influenced me over the
years, but mainly folk music and country music in all its varied forms.
From Nansi Richards to Nanci Griffith, as it were. I hope you like the
Well, yes Tudur, I think I do. For it is nicely varied in pace and
emotional content; he is in fine voice, and musicianship shines through
at every turn as he has some leading names from the Welsh scene in the
studio accompanying him; and the production is the usual fine Sain job,
i.e. as clean as a whistle.
There are clearly one or two songs here that are meant to have real impact.
“Sbaen 1936” for instance. This is a song that catalogues the
remarkable contribution of the Welsh working class to the ranks of the
International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. Perhaps it is just me,
but I long for a song re the Welsh volunteers that will not put the
Spanish Civil War in black and white terms: you do not have to be a
paid-up member of the Revisionist Historians' Club to realise that it
was a much more complex war than it is usually portrayed as being. But
that said, these were brave young Welshmen who left their bodies behind
in the arid soil of Spain, and I salute Tudur for remembering them in
Other “big” songs are the title song, and “Cau drws y ty”. But it was a
little love song inspired by his baby son that stole my heart away:
“Perffaith” (Perfect). Quite delightful. It features some assured piano
playing from John Williams.
A word on the liner notes before ending my review. Oh for sure they are
Sain's usual high quality, but I feel Tudur and Sain have missed a
You see, they have the lyrics of the songs all in the original Welsh. (You may ask, What's wrong with that?)
The answer is nothing is WRONG as such, but as they surely want this
album to sell outside the Welsh-speaking diaspora, what could have been
better than to tell non-Welsh speakers line for line what they are
hearing? True Tudur does give a short summary in English for every
song, but that ain't the same as a translation.
And if you say well, there was not room on the liner notes for both
languages, I say then scrap the Welsh, for his diction is fine and
Welsh speakers will have no problem in understanding his every word.
As Dafydd Ellis Thomas once perceptively observed: “English is one of
the two languages of Wales”. So please, let's do all we can to get the
right conditions for monoglot Welshmen to smell the flowers in the
Welsh language garden.
That said, I enjoyed the album and would recommend it to other Welshmen
like me living outside their native land and who need a quick fix to
satisfy the feeling of “hiraeth” that may have suddenly overcome them.
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