Tony Barrand / John Roberts / John Roberts & Tony Barrand

Live at Holstein's

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AllMusic Review by

John Roberts and Tony Barrand are among the most revered exponents of British folk song working in North America, and their studio albums are treasured by American and Canadian folkies across the continent. Even among their stellar catalog of albums, though, this one is somewhat special. It had its origins when a friend of theirs asked them to record "The Barley Mow"; the idea snowballed until they found themselves at Holstein's in Chicago in front of an appreciative and well-lubricated audience and a digital tape recorder. The resulting set of drinking songs, bawdies, and stories is an absolute delight. Some of the tunes will be familiar to lovers of British song -- "John Barleycorn" and "The Barley Mow" are standards, not to say chestnuts. But only the most encyclopedically knowledgeable will be familiar with everything on the program, and even those who know all the songs will delight in Roberts' and Barrand's strong, reedy voices and the good cheer of the audience members, who join in happily on most of the choruses. Particular highlights include the hilarious "Rolling Mills of New Jersey" (a parody based on Matt McGinn 's "Rolling Hills of the Border") and "Congleton Bear," not to mention the marvelous "Barley Mow," the song that got the whole project started. (This CD reissue adds several new tracks to the original early-'80s release on the Front Hall label.)

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:04 Amazon
2
3:38 Amazon
3 3:57 Amazon
4 1:53 Amazon
5 2:31 Amazon
6 3:51 Amazon
7
5:04 Amazon
8
4:18 Amazon
9 2:41 Amazon
10 3:05 Amazon
11 3:33 Amazon
12 4:16 Amazon
13
4:12 Amazon
14 3:37 Amazon
15
3:09 Amazon
16 2:29 Amazon
17 3:57 Amazon
18
4:02 Amazon
19 5:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick