Hard on the heels of 'Beatrix Potter's Gun' comes another collection of eccentric gems from the pen of Northumbrian folkie Pete Ryder. The addition of voflals from Frances Davies certainly improves the quality of the singing - though she sure sounds like the blonde from Rod, Jane and Freddy who used to sing on the children's 'Rainbow' programmes on ITV. The quantity as well as the quality of the lyrics abound on these 18 tracks so I bet they're glad they didn't produce a lyric sheet. The offerings themselves are mostly either weird ditties about animals - pigs, moles, rats and 'hoglets' - a cheviot cross between a lamb and a pig - or so we're led to believe; or they are satirical songs about contemporary issues such as euthanasia, the media and tourism. Halfway through side two you realise why the album has been reviewed in Cross Rhythms because suddenly the gear changes and we're treated to five songs with varying degrees of 'spiritual input'. They include a roots worship song, "The Candle And The Mirror", and "If You Want To Be A Pilgrim" which charts the consequences of swimming against the flow. Appropriately, God and humour neatly coincide on the final track, "The Sky Fell At 10.30", which reminds us who really is in control. One for Jasper Carrot fans.
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