In the sense that all the performers are stars of the British Folk Scene this could be described as a Folk record, but as the man said "It all depends on what you mean by Folk". There are Folk songs, both contemporary and Traditional, but there are also Blues, Jazz songs. Protest songs. Spirituals, ballads, and even love songs.
The title "Alex and His Friends" is perhaps the understatement of all time. After twelve years of singing all over the world Alex Campbell has as many singer friends as he has songs to sing, and no one would be rash enough to try and list those. For the purposes of this record he has chosen a few of those friends with whom he is at present most closely associated, people whose singing and songs he admires, and with whom he has recently been working. Alex introduces all the singers before their first songs, sometimes remembering the first time he heard them.
ALEX CAMPBELL sings DOWN IN THE MINES. BEEN ON THE ROAD (his own composition). Bob Dylan's DON'T THINK TWICE, and FREEDOM which he considers to be one of the most important of the protest songs. He has broadcast and televised in most European countries and Canada; has been on every network in this country, and has been recorded in six countries. Modest about most of his many achievements he is proud that with over fifty records he is the most recorded Scotsman in history. He has appeared in theatre, films, cabaret and festivals, but at all times remains what he set out to be — an entertainer.
SANDY DENNY sings THE FALSE BRIDE. YOU NEVER WANTED ME. BABE; and backed by the Johnny Silvo Folk Group, THIS TRAIN. Comparatively speaking a newcomer to professional singing Sandy is reckoned by her fellow singers to be the girl of the year. Recently Karl Dallas wrote in Melody Maker "Sandy Denny has the sort of rich soaring voice that could make her a British Baez, though the comparison does her an injustice. There is a great deal of Sandy in what she does and nothing imitative of anyone". She frequently broadcasts for B.B.C. Radio.
JOHNNY SILVO, backed by his own group sings MIDNIGHT SPECIAL; CORN BREAD PEAS AND BLACK MOLASSES; and FREIGHT TRAIN, three studies in the many styles which go to make a Johnny Silvo performance. Recently a newspaper critic wrote "The adjective "Great" is today used to describe the newest, least-talented singers whose records someone wants to sell. If the word could revert to its old meaning it could truthfully be used to describe Johnny Silvo's performance". A regular broadcaster, Johnny has also appeared in television programmes in several regions. The other members of the group are Roger Evans, lead guitar and bazouki, and David Moses, double-bass.
PAUL McNEILL sings DICK DERBY and TELL OLD BILL. Paul has already made two solo L P.'s. He was one of the stars of Rediffusion's "Heartsong" series, and has televised in various other regions. Something of a World traveller, he has sung all through Europe and as far as Israel where he worked for a time on a kibbutz. He is a Lancastrian of Scottish Irish descent. He has made two films and co-starred with Julie Felix in concerts all over England.
CLIFF AUNGIER sings THE CHILLY WINDS, plays BLUE SLEEVES which is his blues arrangement of the traditional GREEN-SLEEVES. and sings DINK'S SONG, probably the truest folk song on the record. Dink was an old negro woman who was heard by a famous collector singing this song as she washed clothes by the banks of the Mississipi. Tunes written by Cliff have been the theme music for Murray Kash's "Kind of Folksy" programme, and the recent "Cellar Full of Folk" on which Cliff was compere for several weeks. With Royd Rivers he made an LP called WANDERIN' and under the name Dee Daemon a single which was in Radio London's "Fab 40" for four weeks.
All the performers join in the chorus songs and most of the instrumental backing is by Roger Evans and David Moses, although all the singers accompany themselves on guitar.