Reach village sign
Out of Reach
Folk Music from Cambridgeshire Pub Sessions

Reviews

(Most recent first)

This lovely CD celebrates a session, originally held in the Cambridgeshire village of Reach, and aims to raise money from its proceeds for Cancer Research UK as a tribute to melodeon player Danny Gallagher’s wife who died from cancer in 2010; it was Danny’s idea to put it together. The other sessioneers are Anahata (melodeons, cello, concertina), Chris Sullivan (octave mandola), David Dolby (fiddle, mandolin), Mary Humphreys (English concertina, banjo), and Simon George-Kelso (vocals, guitar).

Most of the interesting selection of tunes comes from the wealth of available eighteenth- and nineteenth-century English manuscripts: John Clare (Northamptonshire), Pyle family (Hampshire), John Moore and John Clews (Shropshire), and William Clarke (Norfolk). A couple are from traditional twentieth- century musicians, two are recent compositions, and the remainder are from eighteenth-century published collections or earlier. There are two songs: ‘We are Forced to be Contented’ (about the 1832 Reform Act), and Colin Cater’s classic ‘Penny for the Ploughboys’ which has swiftly found its way into the repertoire of many traditional singers.

There is a definite southern English sound to this CD, and the overall feel is gentle, steady, reflective; possibly because of the underlying reason for its production, or perhaps that is the atmosphere of the source session. I particularly enjoyed ‘Meillionen’ and ‘South Downs’ which underline the mood of the CD as a whole.

As it is a studio recording, it lacks the excitement and atmosphere of a live pub session, but benefits from the clarity gained by lack of background sounds. Tracks 7 and 8 are incorrectly listed in the notes, but this is corrected on the Treewind website. Despite this minor detail, the CD deserves to be widely played and I hope it is very successful for such a good cause.
www.treewind.co.uk

Jenny Coxon, EDS Magazine

This is (honestly) the most gloriously feelgood CD I've heard so far this year, absolutely guaranteed to lift the spirits with the very first bars and keep them aloft for almost exactly an hour. It consists of a well-balanced programme of tunes (mostly in the form of medleys, and leavened with a couple of songs) recorded by six of the musicians frequenting the traditional pub folk music sessions at The Dyke's End in the village of Reach on the edge of the Fens north-east of Cambridge. The music may since have been, quite literally, taken "out of Reach" by leaving the pub (for various reasons), but it has continued to thrive, both in other pubs in the area and by being permanently enshrined on this studio recording, which has been made with the express purpose of raising as much money as possible for cancer research (participating musician Danny Gallagher's wife having died from breast cancer in 2010). The seed for the idea having been planted with respected folk performers Mary Humphreys and Anahata, no time was lost in gathering together with Chris Sullivan, David Dolby and Simon George-Kelso to record a representative yet enterprising collection of mostly little-known but thoroughly enjoyable tunes. The welcomingly diverse instrumentation (various permutations of melodeons, concertinas, fiddle, octave mandola, mandolin, banjo, guitar and cello) is invariably tastefully and imaginatively deployed, without overloading textures but retaining that frisson of participatory togetherness that comes with a relatively small number of musicians who work so well and intuitively with each other. The listener can sense this at once, and yet (unlike in many similar pub-based folk sessions) not feel in any way excluded by the sheer cameraderie of the participants and the expertise and musicianship on entirely natural display. It fair makes you want to dance!

Tune aficionados will doubtless wish to learn more about the provenance of the selections, and ample detail is provided in the concise liner notes (with further pointers to the website); suffice to say that sources include early collections of English, Welsh and Scottish dance music including the manuscript collections of John Clare, also tunes collected from village musicians - not to mention the occasional Russian march, French quadrille or Swedish Rejländer. The arrangements are delightful and wholly listenable, the tunes themselves interesting and intelligently combined to form harmonious and logical medleys. One could listen to these musicians all night - and I fully expect the sessions would have lasted even longer!… Finally, I must mention the pair of songs which, though included as respites from the scintillating foot-tappery of the tunes, are gems in their own right. Here, to a gentle guitar accompaniment, Simon provides a reflective take on Colin Cater's charismatic A Penny For The Ploughboys and introduces us to a powerful broadside concerning the 1832 Reform Act, both items also featuring some finely judged chorus singing (and selective, sensitive accompaniment) from the rest of the musicians.

The fund-raising rationale for the CD is of tremendous importance of course, should any motivation for purchase be needed - as if the sheer vivacity of the music within were not sufficient incentive in itself! Joyful and joyous; totally irresistible, totally infectious and totally recommendable in every respect.

Should you wish to find out more about Cancer Research UK, please visit their website: www.cancerresearchuk.org

David Kidman, Fatea Records online magazine

...a delightful collection of foot-tapping tunes and a couple of songs, which include Colin Cater's A Penny For The Ploughboys, in celebration of Molly Dancing. While the various tunes may be common among Cambridgeshire folk musicians, their origin is far more widespread, and culled from many different sources.
...I can't imagine that the actual sessions in the pub would have been quite so restrained as to allow the very pleasing arrangements presented on the recording, with various instruments coming in at different times.
...I would thoroughly recommend buying this CD - absolutely great music supporting a very worthy cause.

Colin Andrews, What's Afoot July 2013 (Devonshire Folk Magazine)

Various Artists Out Of Reach (Treewind TWD015). A group of quality musicians (Anahata, Mary Humphreys and friends) who regularly play for fun in Cambridgeshire pubs, here ensconced in the studio yet losing nothing in vitality and enthusiasm. Menu mostly traditional English tunes (plus a brace of songs) All in aid of Cancer Research; deep joy and win-win! www.treewind.co.uk

fRoots magagazine, July 2013

A cheerful collection of session tunes played on melodeons, fiddles, concertinas, mandola and banjo, with a couple of songs. All items are out of the ordinary so this is a treasury for instrument-players looking for fascinating new material. Mary Humphreys and Anahata are among the six players so musicianship is high. Recommended.

Chris Ridley, Folknews Kernow, July 2013

Very listenable and beautifully produced. I really enjoyed it.

Paul McCann, June 2013

...fine local musicians, making up a polished band of melodeons, fiddle, banjo, concertina, guitar and octave mandola, played with verve and energy.

While some of the tunes are already popular in sessions, there are many rare gems here which deserve to be played more widely. Some are traditional, some come from the tune books of the early nineteenth century, and others have been written more recently in traditional style.
...
From my own brush with breast cancer this year I have realised that modern cancer treatment is protecting far more of us, our friends and families than we may realise. I urge everyone to buy this CD and know that your own enjoyment is also helping to save lives — and maybe your own.

Celia Kemp, EFN magazine, May 2013

Oh Boy!
I've just played it. Totally wonderful and so professional. I really hope (and you should) make a fortune for Cancer Research. Every tune just makes you want to leap up and dance, brilliant stuff.

I ordered mine at about 2pm yesterday, and it arrived this morning! It's been on the CD player in the car ever since....
Brilliant service, and great music....

I received my copy this morning and have been playing it non-stop! It really is a wonderful CD and a very good quality recording.

I love it!

Various early recipients posting on melodeon.net, April 2013