Martin Young - Bowstring - Folk, Ceilidh, Barn Dance
Martin Young - Botany Bay

Martin Young - Botany Bay

  • Price £10.00 + £2.50 P&P
  • Sweep CD002 - (CD, UK, 2001)

Arranged, recorded, engineered and produced by Graeme Taylor in May-November 2000 at Elfstrum Studio, Morden, Surrey. Mastered at R.M.S Studio, London. Cover design and photography by Penelope Horn

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  • Martin Young, vocals, guitar, cittern
  • Graeme Taylor, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, midi programming, backing vocals
  • Nancy Kerr, violin, viola, backing vocals
  • James Fagan, bouzouki, backing vocals
  • John Kirkpatrick, melodeon, button accordion, concertina
  • Jon Davie, bass guitars
  • Michael Gregory, djembe, tambourine, snare drum, shakers
  • Keith Thompson, oboe, flute, whistles; sopranino, descant, tenor and treble recorders

Botany Bay review by Ken Bladen

I am over that dreadful moment of trepidation when playing for the first time a mate’s CD you have agreed to review. To review a CD properly you have to listen to it several times so that it either grows on you or you are reaching for the weedkiller.

This CD is a mixture of traditional songs and contemporary songs, some of which have been written by Martin. Like all good mixtures the right ingredients have been added, they have been well stirred and cooked at just the right temperature – a recipe for success if ever there was one. Whew, a huge sigh of relief. This is going to be relatively easy and an enjoyable way to while away an afternoon.

Martin opens his account with ‘Romney Tower’, a song of Kent or a Kentish song written by Bob Kenward which suits Martin’s pleasant, melodic voice and highlights the quality of the supporting musicians; Graeme Taylor, Nancy Kerr, John Kirkpatrick, Jon Davie, James Fagan, Keith Thompson and Michael Gregory. ‘When Darkness Falls’ is Martin’s reflections on a newspaper report on modern day poachers during the first ‘Thatcher recession’ in the early 80’s. Traditional songs are well represented by ‘When The King Enjoys His Own Again’, ‘Jim Jones At Botany Bay’, ‘Garners Gay’ and ‘Long Looked For Come At Last’ all of which are treated gently and with sincerity and due respect.

Humour is provided by Keith Donnelly’s song about a charity event performed by a gentleman of the cloth, ‘Bungee Jumping For Jesus’. Martin’s relish at delivering lines such as ‘fear doesn’t rankle when Christ grips your ankle’ and ‘I’m just a yo-yo for the Lord’ makes this a perfect interlude from the more thought-provoking material. The only track I’m not enthused about is ‘Rolling And Flowing’ (Dylan Bustin) I suppose because I am used to it being belted out rather than rolling and flowing.

Skilfully mixed (in more ways than one) are Martin’s own songs such as ‘Rambling Preacher’ (which is a load of old cobbler’s… puns, which he must have been glad to get out of his system at long last). ‘Woodbine After Rain’ clearly is not a reference to cigarettes unless you consider them to be ‘the sweetest scent of all’ but to the honeysuckle flower. This is a gentle love song that is not clinging but evocative. My favourite song of Martin’s on this CD is ‘Janitors And Jailers’, a reference to a zoo-keeper’s opinion of his work. A fitting end to an excellent CD.

Throughout the CD the accompanists do just that. They accompany, enhance, lend charm and grace in a complimentary manner that enriches without stealing the limelight or becoming intrusive. Thus, comfortably surrounded with unobtrusive excellence, Martin has risen to the occasion and produced a high quality CD throughout which is eminently listenable and not a dust gatherer. I recommend it and no money has changed hands or favours repaid or owed.

I just honestly thoroughly enjoyed this CD.