Serious Sam Barrett has now been a serious folk singer for 15 years and Where The White Roses Grow is his ninth album and he's spent those years touring the world and making great folk music.
The album opens with the title track strummed and picked on a banjo and sounding like he is sat high up on the Yorkshire Dale's dreaming of going to see the white roses growing. Although not quite the explanation in the little fold out booklet the CD comes with.
Last Of The Yorkshire Outlaws is a tribute to the hard drinking men of Yorkshire and feels like it could almost be played as a reel as he sings about the barfly's he's met along the way.
I Don't Need To Wait For Heaven feels like it should be sung by a share cropper on an old Alan Lomax recording it's plangent and full of yearning for the one he loves.
Holmfirth Anthem is the first trad folk song he covers on this album and sings it acapella it certainly makes me want to go to Holmfirth. He keeps it trad on the wonderfully sparse arrangement of Waters Of Tyne as we drift back to the days when you had to pay a ferryman to cross the Tyne.
Bonaparte's Love Song is nicely picked tune that's a reworking of Bonaparte's retreat, the classic song about that notorious march through the villages my ancestors lived in. This is a lot less bedraggled than what was left of his army was.
We then get into the dispute as to who Robin Hood belongs too on Robin Hood And The 15 Foresters a very cool version of one of the many folk songs about good old Robin. Oh and of course the foresters get what's coming to them for double crossing him. While Sam claims him as a proud Yorkshire-man.
I hope no one reading this would argue with the sentiments in Everybody Needs A Helping Hand as Sam tells us why we might need that help, and here's hoping we all find that help when we need it as do the characters in the song.
Bramhope Tunnel Monument is a sad lament to the 24 men who lost their lives building the one railway tunnel, sadly a story that was replicated to various degrees in the building of far too many railways in Victorian Times and also in far more recent memory. This is a good telling of one of these horror stories, not quite as shocking as all the workers but one dying building the railway in Costa Rica but very moving and a good reminder of how workers have been exploited over the years.
Tennessee Line is a song inspired by Sam's time touring in the States and what he saw and experienced when in the Alabama Tennessee border region a cool song with a good message.
The album closes with Darling Where are You is a good song of love and yearning to his love who is obviously waiting at home for his return this feels like a traditional folk love song that after the instrumental opening is sung acapella to help get his feelings across.
Find out more at https://www.facebook.com/Serious-Sam-BarrettYaDig-Records-185802254796469/