Reviews of VT129CD 'I've come to sing a song'
Vic, though born in Launceston (north Cornwall), has resided in Bodmin for most of his life, and is a mainstay of the justly-famed Garland Ox folk club there. This album (a reissue of an earlier cassette) is an absolute delight, capturing larger-than-life Vic at his ebullient best, recorded mostly at his home in the early 90s Ė even though at 53 minutes it (unavoidably) fails to give a complete picture of the manís incredibly wide repertoire. A few months ago, I was fortunate to catch a club appearance by Vic on a rare visit north of Exeter (!), and I found that truly the man has a song for every occasion! If youíve not heard Vic, then make an effort to remedy the situation soon, for heís a singer of distinction with an attractive, rich timbre and an enviable, completely unforced, untrained drive and control, with the fulsome personality to match Ė as can be heard in the snippets of introduction included here, and in his quickly-established rapport with his audience. On first acquaintance, I was surprised how well his individual, lively approach suits all kinds of songs he tackles, from ostensibly throwaway, bawdy or comic songs (If I Do, I Do, Just Beginning To Sprout) to the more "serious" traditional fare (Thorneymore Woods, and a compelling Barbara Allen). Most of the songs Vic sings were learnt from older members of his family (this release is subtitled "Cornish Family Songs"); Vic grew up in a singing environment, and this shows in his completely natural performing manner and his obvious relish in putting across the import of the songs. Thatís the key to appreciating Vicís artistry Ė and why this eminently pleasing release in particular should be appreciated by non-specialist listeners to whom a whole set of unaccompanied singing would normally be anathema.
I've known Vic for some twenty-five years but there's not the slightest need to use bias in this review; this recording shines with its own excellence. The CD is valuable on four counts: It is a lasting document of a genuine traditional singer; it introduces us to versions of songs which are different in tune and lyric from the ordinary, in some cases charmingly and bizarrely so; it will spread Cornish songs to a far wider audience; and it'll make you laugh! Some twenty Legg favourites are gathered here; ballads music-hall and humorous from the singing of his relatives, and a medley learned in his Devonport dockyard days. Vic loves an audience to spark with and most of the tracks - thank goodness - are recorded live, with six songs taken at his home in Bodmin. John Howson uses only the highest possible quality of recording and needless to say every word is crystal-clear. Worth the money for the superbly rhythmical "Thorneymoor Woods" alone, with some hilarious introductions as a bonus; and at 54 minutes a bargain. Possibly one of Veteran's all-time best.
Veteran, the home
of genuine article British folk music continues its traditional quality with
Vic Legg, of Cornish travelling stock, has singing and songs in his blood and 'I've Come To. ..' captures him in his element, delivering his repertoire with gusto and no little vocal swing, recorded live at a folk music evening in Suffolk back in 1992 His engaging story-songs and careful delivery render everything he does with an easy-on-the-ear attractiveness. An undervalued folk talent.
Rock and Reel
A long overdue issue from a popular visitor to the area (although work commitments have reduced the number of appearances here) and one of the finest singers you'll hear. Vic Legg sings a variety of material - travellers' songs from his family (his mother & some of his aunts were featured on the issue Catch Me If You Can), a comic song from his father, songs he picked up along the way (many will be delighted to see that The Hellbound Train is included) & a medley of naval material from his apprenticeship at the Devonport dock-yard. These are field recordings, as is the rule with this label & will be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates fine songs excellently sung. Anyone who has heard Vic will want this tape, & will join me in hoping that a 2nd issue will not be as long arriving.
A fine collection
of songs collected by Vic who comes from traditional singing stock in North
Cornwall. All the sixteen tracks were mainly recorded live at folk evenings
and this is very apparent by the atmosphere and liveliness demonstrated on the
CD (no doubt helped by his charismatic personality!)
The CD is a very
good balance of humerous and serious material with a strong emphasis, very
pleasingly on the former. A rare occurance. The first and last songs - 'I've
come to sing a song" and `Me and My Wife' are fine examples of how good
traditional singing doesn't have to be depressing - more singers please take
On the whole a very worth while addition to any traditional singing collection.
What a lucky boy I am l I was given this to review, and I've been a fan of Vic's since I first bumped into him in Wadebridge, the day before the festival started. He was in his element, getting an impromptu session going just because he happened to spot a few familiar faces in a bar. Vic is an unassuming chap, except that he always assumes he's welcome wherever he goes, and being such good company, I'm sure he's always right. A rare treasure, he sings as though he's listening to his own songs, as opposed to his own voice. And well he might; coming from traveller stock, he learnt from his grandparents, parents and other family as well as picking up songs on his course through life, notably from his days in Devonport dockyards. We have 16 tracks lasting 53'41" on this, his first, long-awaited album. Some are studio tracks, some from folk clubs in Suffolk and London. All are unaccompanied. Some are love songs, some folk classics, some are going to make you laugh. The club songs contain some of Vic's typically unstrained humorous introductions. I particularly liked his Barbara Allen, a glorious song too often spoilt by theatrics or over-emphasis on voice production. Also here are the Banks of the Sweet Dundee, The Molecatcher, Banks of Sweet Primroses, all beautifully performed. But I bet that Little bit of Wastage, the Hell-bound Train and Just Beginning to Sprout will be new to you if you don't know Vic.
The CD is well recorded and nicely produced. It's another thoroughbred winner from the Veteran stables.
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