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Tim Jones & The Dark LanternsTim Jones & The Dark Lanterns
Album: The Oyster Girl
Label: Cotton Mill
Tracks: 4

They say that you can't judge a book by it's cover but, when a CD sleeve is decorated in the Roses & Castles style, it's a fairly safe bet that the contents are going to mention canals at some stage. On this point the latest EP from Tim Jones And The Dark Lanterns doesn't disappoint. The EP opener, and title track, The Oyster Girl is topical modern folk song about the continuous cruisers who have settled on a nomadic, and at times precarious, life on Britain's canals and rivers.

From England we move to South Wales and more specifically the Cynon Valley, Aberdare Drinking Song is a rollicking tale of an August Bank holiday in the pub with a man who may or may not be dead and keeping him from the clutches of his wife, the long arm of the law and the local doctor.

The last two tracks on this EP are altogether more reflective. Sally Brown is the story of a Hartlepool woman looking back on her life with her late husband and working on the potato farms that can be found on the North Yorkshire coast. A Distance To Be Travelled is about going where life takes you, enjoying the friends you make and the companions who join you as the road winds on beneath your feet.

At times reminiscent of Nic Jones, at others Tim Laycock, The Oyster Girl is an EP that doesn't disappoint on any level, Tim Jones and the band have produced four excellent contemporary songs in a traditional folk style that will reward repeated listening.

This CD has been on more or less continuous play in my car since it landed on the doormat & I still haven't tired of listening to it. The Oyster Girl is a great example of quality over quantity and If you like great stories well told then This EP is for you.

David Chamberlain