Following the successful Volume 1 of the Steve Benbow Folk Four (JEB 1), Collector Records now present a further four traditional songs sung and played in the tasteful and entertaining style of the group. Steve believes that folk-song has its place in the contemporary musical scene. The efforts of this group to present such fine songs as these are to be applauded, since their presentation does show that there is material from our own musical heritage which can be blended with elements of the popular musical styles of today to produce something to which everyone can listen and enjoy.
The group consists of Steve Benbow, vocal and guitar, Jimmy [sic] MacGregor, vocal, guitar and mandolin, Shirley Bland, vocal, and Vic Pitt, bass.
Steve and Shirley Bland are heard on the dialogue song The Coalowner And The Pitman's Wife, which has pronounced radical sentiments, and is thought to date from the 1844 Durham strike. It was probably written by William Hornsby, a collier from Shotton Moor, and it recently appeared in A. L. Lloyd's collection of mining songs "Come All Ye Brave Miners".
On our first volume we had a sporting song about boxing and here we have one about football. The Football Match describes a rather hectic match between rival village teams. This song was printed in William's "Folk Songs of the Upper Thames", and the tune came to Steve from A. L. Lloyd.
Shirley Bland is heard to advantage on North Country Maid, which is sometimes known as "The Oak and the Ash", and she is joined in the choruses by Jimmy [sic] MacGregor. The song is quite a well known one and will be remembered by many from their schooldays. The text was adapted from traditional sources by Chappell.
Steve's masterly singing of Captain Kidd really brings this song about the infamous pirate to life. Kidd was originally a New York privateer, who hunted pirates for both the American and English authorities. He eventually turned pirate himself (perhaps the profits were greater) and, after speeding many victims along the plank, was executed in London during 1701. The song originated as a broadside ballad, and is sung to the same tune as a similar song from the period called "Admiral Benbow". The extra voice in the choruses of Steve's version belongs to Scots folk singer, Robin Hall, who happened to be in the Collector studios at the time.