Enoch Kent
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Enoch Kent
I'm A Workin' Chap
Second Avenue Records (www.secondavenue.ca)

The opening track reveals almost everything you need to know about Enoch Kent, a native Glaswegian now living in Canada. It is a gritty, unadorned piece of singing featuring Enoch's gruff, honest voice singing in a strong Scots accent with a simple guitar and flute accompaniement. This is Kent's first solo recording. He was once a member of The Exiles in London, and a founding member of The Singer's Club with Ewan MaColl and Peggy Seeger. He emigrated to Canada where he now lives, writes and performs in a traditional Scots style. I'm A Workin' Chap is a mixture of Kent's own songs, those of some of his contemporaries, and some found in the tradition, which he uses to tackle social issues and injustice.

His material features established traditional writers like Ewan MaColl ("Jamie Foyers"), Harry Lawson ("Tales of a Favorite Lass") Robert Burns ("The Bonniest Lass"), and contemporary writers like Garnet Rogers ("Green Eyes"). Mr. Kent takes credit for rearranging the other songs from traditional sources, and assimilates them into his own idiom.

His unadorned singing style has its charms and yields many rewards, such as his intensity of emotion in "Van Dieman's Land," his pain in "The Farm Auction," and pathos in "The Widows O' War." Reminiscent of Ewan MaColl at times, Kent's vocal style and range are fairly limited, yet he still delivers the message and power of these songs directly to the listener. His reading of his own song "Collier Laddie" is a highlight, as he uses his voice to swim along with the melody, even humming along at one point.

His interpretation of Robert Burns' "The Bonniest Lass" (sometimes known as "For A' That") is filled with emotion and dignity. His own song (written with Henry Lawson), "Tales Of A Favorite Lass," is a charmer. He molds his voice around the lyrics and can make them float or bite as the mood requires.

Enoch Kent does not break any new ground with this recording. His singing style and delivery are fairly direct, but he carries a tradition forward with great respect, integrity and honesty. Good stuff. - David A. Smith

Available from Second Avenue: www.secondavenue.ca

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