Milton Hide – The Holloway
Long Way Home Music LWHM017
The declared aim of this 11-track album is to “present these songs as if we’re performing just for you”, and Sussex-based Jim and Josie Tipler have certainly achieved that. In fact, it could almost be a live recording from your local folk club, minus the applause and any chorus singing.
The album is essentially just the two of them: Jim on vocals, mandolin and guitar and Josie on vocals, clarinets, cajón and xylophone, with some additions from producer Phil Jones (double bass, electric bass and bodhrán), Simon Yapp (violin and viola) and Bruce Knapp (electric guitar).
The songs are all self-penned and have been “live audience tested”, so absolutely no problem in bringing these to a venue near you almost exactly as you hear them here.
The live vibe is a contrast to their more fully produced first album, Temperature Rising. One niggle is the absence of a lyric sheet – something I would always encourage songwriters to include, or at least post lyrics on the website.
There is some political comment in the opening track, All Gone South, and natural-world-based songs in Cuckmere, Anning’s Fossil Depot and Sparkle Jar.
Personal songs are led by The Happiest Man On Earth, which takes inspiration from the Auschwitz survivor Eddie Jaku (prisoner number 172338), author of a book of the same name, who vowed to smile every day to honour those who he lost in the Holocaust.
Unsaid features a good folky guitar accompaniment and A Little Bit Alike highlights all those apparent opposites within a loving relationship, despite which the love endures.
A song I can hear Fairport Convention performing is The Ballad of Gabriel Oak, with mandolin melody and vocals by Josie contributing to a very trad feel.
Folk London Magazine, Apr-May 2023 edition.