Si BarronSi Barron
Album: Sweet Billy Caution
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

The first thing that came to mind when I heard the opening track of "Sweet Billy Caution" was Tommy Steel, followed quite rapidly by Anthony Newley, but it's not long before you get a feel for how Si Barron has picked up his own style and very quickly warm to the way that he has taken his arrangements to the world of English folk music.

"Sweet Billy Caution" is an eleven tracker that consists of nine trad tunes and two covers, Richard Thompson's, "Down Where The Drunkards Roll" and Ewan MacColl's "Prison Song", both slotting seamlessly into the general direction of the album and it's timbre.

Record live in a two day period in July, the album does capture that vibrant feel of a set. That's enhanced by most of the songs consisting of voice accompanied by a single instrument, though occasionally two or more are used in all cases Si Barron is the musician involved, he also produced the album and designed the artwork so this is very much his project. I also have to say that where additional instruments are dropped in, it doesn't detract from the live feel.

Whilst there are a short handful of folk standards on the album, the likes of "Little John Barleycorn", "The Press Gang" and "Franklin", there are also a good selection of songs, "Seventeen Come Sunday", "Spotty Dick" and "The Sailor Cut Down", that get far rarer outings, at least on albums.

There is a bent towards nautical songs on the album, both in negative and positive contexts, but definitely drifting towards the harsh nature of the sea and the life of sailors, particularly in the era of sail.

Songs like the aforementioned, "Spotty Dick" which provides a witty musical hall style break and also gives a family around the piano, organ feel, complete with all the required innuendo.

I enjoyed, "Sweet Billy Caution", actually, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Si Barron comes across as an amiable young singer and one that lives in his songs.

Neil King