CD Review: John Renbourn and Wizz Jones

The last recording sessions that John Renbourn took part in, in partnership with Wizz Jones: review of the CD Joint Control.

A few months after release, but a special case: John Renbourn’s last recording, a CD with Wizz Jones. Reviewed for

JOHN RENBOURN & WIZZ JONES – Joint Control (Riverboat Records TUGCD1095)

Sad, not only because of John’s fairly recent death, but because of its echoes of Bert Jansch and Davy Graham, also lost to us in recent years.

David Harley

CD Review: Rab Noakes, The Treatment Tapes EP

Another of my reviews for, of a six-track CD by Rab Noakes.

RAB NOAKES – The Treatment Tapes EP (Neon Records NEONCD018)

Cancer treatment might not sound like the most promising material to base a CD on, but I’m really glad I got to hear this. Not having heard him since 1975’s Never Too Late LP, I think I’m going to have to look out for some more of his recent material.

David Harley

Rapsquillion CD Review


Congratulations to the multi-talented Rapsquillion, whose new CD ‘Earthly Joys’ is now making waves.

I’ve already reviewed it for and would still be playing it non-stop if my copy of the John Renbourn/Wizz Jones album, which was John’s very last recording, hadn’t just arrived. 😉

For more information or to get the CD, contact the Raps here.

By the way, I’ve just updated my list of reviews here.

David Harley

Flying Toads CD review


Another of my reviews for, this time of the new CD by the excellent Flying Toads, versatile musicians who specialize in Celtic music, mostly dance tunes with the occasional song featuring Val Marciandi’s vibrant vocals.

THE FLYING TOADS – Warts ‘N All (Own Label)

I’ve done more reviews in the past couple of years than I’d done in the previous two decades, and am really enjoying it. 🙂

David Harley

UB40 Review for

While not many people would think of UB40’s reggae-based rhythms as characteristic of a UK folk band, there are enough of their own songs of social commentary in their back catalogue to put them in a similar category to singer/songwriters like, say, Billy Bragg. (In fact, social commentary is a dominant thread among reggae songwriters but this isn’t the time for that lecture, and I’m not really qualified to give it anyway.)

That said, both the CDs recently released by the band calling itself UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro and Mickey contain a high percentage of cover versions of songs that you probably won’t encounter much in a folk setting. But that doesn’t bother me: my finger was surgically removed from my ear many decades ago.

Once upon a time – when I first started to listen to folk music – there was the Clarion Skiffle Group, the Ian Campbell Trio and the Ian Campbell Folk Group. As well as nurturing such luminaries as Dave Swarbrick, Spencer Davis, Christine Perfect, and Dave Pegg, Ian was himself the composer of a number of fine songs, many of them with a political message. He was also the father of four sons, two of whom, Ali and Robin, went on to become founder members of UB40, a heavily reggae-influenced band also noted for its political sensibilities.

In 2008, however, Ali Campbell and Mickey Virtue left the band, and in 2013 percussionist and vocalist Astro followed. Subsequently, the three of them were reunited in the line-up represented on CD called Unplugged, now released along with a Greatest Hits CD compiled from recordings by the lineup that remained stable until 2008. It doesn’t include recordings where Duncan, a third Campbell brother, replaced Ali as the original band’s vocalist. (There is yet another brother, David, at one time the band’s manager but as a performer more inclined to the traditional, and not to be confused with the Guyana-born singer/songwriter David Campbell, now living in Canada.)

My review of the two CDs can now be found on the site: UB40 FEATURING ALI, ASTRO AND MICKEY – Unplugged + Greatest Hits (UMC)

David Harley


Hat Fitz & Cara – CD Review

A little information on my latest CD review for

Not here – I haven’t done any reviews for this site so far – but for HAT FITZ & CARA – After The Rain

An interesting modern blues duo based in Australia. Cara Robinson takes most of the vocals (and very good she is too), and plays (on this album, anyway) ‘vintage drums’ and washboard. Hat takes lead vocals on a couple of tracks and plays electric guitar, resonator guitar, and mandolin. Excellent songs.

I once wrote a couple of chapters for a book edited by a hacker who sometimes called himself Hat. I don’t think Hat Fitz is the same bloke, though. 🙂

David Harley