Mandy Breeze & Doug Kelly – Simple Folk


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SKU: TN2531-90 Category:


A collection of some of our favourite, mostly traditional Anglo Celtic ballads, with a few surprises thrown in – just a touch of American contemporary Blues ‘Fogtown‘ and a lovely Appalachian gospel favourite  ‘Fly Away’. Also included are a few Australian favourites, the immortal convict ballad ‘Moreton Bay’, and lesser known ‘the Ballad of Jim Jones’ and ‘little Fishy’a lullaby sung to children.

Simplefolk was named to honour the stories of the ordinary people, those who ploughed the fields and harvested the grain, who lives were governed by the vagaries of the climate and the whims of those who rules over them.

We use all sorts of Instruments, ancient and modern, and love collaborating with musical guests, but the guts of our sound is built around Dougs Bouzouki and my vocals.


CD review by Tony Smith

TN158 – Oct 23

This album of a dozen tracks lives up to the promise in the title.

All the songs except for ‘Fogtown’ by Michelle Shocked, are billed as traditional.

The album is dedicated to all the simple folk of history ‘who despite every obstacle, injustice and difficulty, ploughed on, hung in there and overcame adversity’.

The songs include ‘Wee Weaver’, ‘House Carpenter’, ‘Dalesman’s Litany’, ‘The Ballad of Jim Jones’, ‘Fly Away’, ‘Scarborough Fayre’, ‘The Bonny Broom’, ‘Next Market Day’, ‘Serving Girl’s Holiday’, ‘Month of January’ and ‘Little Fishy’.

Mandy Breeze (vocals, dulcimer) and Doug Kelly (Irish bazouki, gittern, accordion, synth, saz) are joined by special guests Andrew de Teliga (violin, dobro), Chris Riley (didgeridoo) and Mark Bromley (double bass).

The sleeve notes are brief but since the songs are all well known, there is no need for the supply of lyrics.

Besides, Mandy Breeze has clear diction which makes the lyrics accessible.

Kelly’s ‘bazouki’ is lute like, possibly even ud-like, and establishes an earthy sound.

Breeze’s voice is well suited to the echo effect found on most of these tracks.

Kelly also supplies fine accordion backing on ‘The Ballad of Jim Jones’, the Australian offering among these tracks.

Another local touch is that the Didgeridoo features on ‘The Bonny Broom’.

‘Fly Away’ has perhaps the best harmonies, beautiful in fact, plus the song has some evocative fiddle.

‘Serving Girl’s Holiday’ has splendid accompaniment and a nice minor chord feel.

English folk diva, Kate Rusby, does this one too.

‘Spindle bobbin and spool away/ for joy that is high a holiday!’

Another with that minor chord ballad feel is ‘Dalesman’s Litany’, which has been covered by such prominent folkies as Maddie Prior and Christy Moore.

‘From Hull and Fairfax and Hell/ Good Lord deliver me!’

I particularly admired the way Mandy Breeze’s voice swells in volume and becomes all-absorbing on ‘Little Fishy’.

Each note is as clear as a bell.

Anyone who enjoys English folk music will appreciate how the tradition is kept alive by Mandy Breeze and Doug Kelly.

Additional information

Weight .190 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1.0 cm


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