Travellers´ Tales

REVIEW by Willard Manus
It's the mark of a genuine troubador when his new songs sound like classics. Alan Moorhouse is just such an artist, as evidenced by his latest release, TRAVELLERS´TALES. Moorhouse sings twelve songs which, until I read the liner notes, I could've sworn I'd heard before, sung, perhaps, by such Celtic headliners as Martin Carthy or Ian Campbell. Or was it Pete Seeger or Woody Guthrie?

None of the above. Moorhouse not only composed all of the tunes on TRAVELLERS´ TALES but sings them as well, accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar & harmonica (backed up by four other skilful musicians). The resulting CD is a splendid achievement, a collection of deeply-felt, beautifully-sung ballads, some serious and sad, others rollicking and bawdy.

Moorhouse, a Brit based in Germany for many years (after having busked his way up and down the continent), has made a name for himself with his politically-charged protest songs. But this time around he sets off on a new path. "I wanted to make a rather different album," he confides. "It's more about friends meeting, swapping stories and accepting the circle of life and death. I have surrounded myself with a few close friends and we have tried to tell the stories of the various characters, in a way that others can hear those people, whose voices are no longer heard. This is what I want from folk singers."

The "various characters" include the denizens of a local pub who require all who enter to cheer them up with a ditty; the East Looe Boys who enjoyed brawling in the pubs and streets when young, only to end up dying for each other on in the World War; and Madame Whiplash, who introduced Alan and his chums to the pleasures of spanking and sex:

"Oh Madam Whiplash! With your stare cruel and despotic--How I find you so erotic, Madam Whiplash!

Clench your fists and look tyrannical, clasp my wrists into those manacles!

Madam Whiplash! Tie me up over there against your fender, I'm for the trap that's not so tender.

From behind your leather mask, You shall take me hard to task, Madam Whiplash. Oh you must thrash me again.

Madam Whiplash, you're what makes us Englishmen!"

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