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The Adderbury Morris MenThe Adderbury Morris Men
Album: … Sing And Play The Music Of The Adderbury Tradition
Label: Talking Elephant
Tracks: 26

This what-it-says-on-the-tin disc is virtually a straight reissue on CD format of a long-play cassette released by The Morris Federation in 1990 to accompany the publication Adderbury Tradition - Cotswold Morris Dancing. 2015 is the year that the Adderbury Morris Men, one of the country's most famous and well-reputed sides, celebrate their 40th anniversary. But the existence of morris dancing in the village of Adderbury actually dates back almost a century, for Janet Heatley Blunt had introduced Cecil Sharp to the practice there in 1919. Although the intervening years saw a decline, the earlier detailed recording of the dances by Blunt enabled a full and healthy reconstruction of the tradition in the mid-70s, leading to a full recording by the musicians of the Adderbury Morris Men in 1982, which was eventually released as the above-mentioned cassette.

The sequence of music collected here comprises stick dances, handkerchief dances and a final processional, with three musicians (melodeon and two fiddles, one of whom is Chris Leslie of Fairport fame) and half a dozen singers including Ian Harris and Tim Radford. Everything's traditional in origin, except for three tunes composed by Chris himself. The Fairport connection extends to its having been recorded at their Woodworm Studios by Dave Pegg. It makes a jolly, if by its very nature mildly specialist listen. Oh, and when I said "virtually a straight reissue" above, I meant that just one track, a jig played by Chris, has been omitted due to playing-time constraints - but happily it's been included on the celebratory Morris Federation set (And The Ladies Go Dancing…), also brought out by Talking Elephant.

David Kidman