Acie Cargill & the
Stone in the Shoes Band,
In the Willow Garden
(Orchard, 2002)

In the Willow Garden is a labour of love as the artists work to preserve old tunes and make them available for generations to come. You can feel privileged to own this collection. Not only is it preserving the heritage of music but also it gives you a rare chance to hear many common songs and tunes as they had been sung centuries ago.

The CD is like a catalogue of the folk genre from the Scottish "Geordie" through "The House Carpenter" to that great song "Rose Connalley," which I recall being sung by the Everly Brothers on the hit TV series Bringing It All Back Home. "Pretty Peggy O" is a joy to hear. I was familiar with the song from an early Simon & Garfunkel album and enjoyed their rendition, but this has the real feel of an original.

There are songs here whose names mean nothing until you hear the lyrics sung. One of these is "Where Are You, Dear William," which will be familiar to many as "There's a Hole in the Bucket." Isn't it amazing how our old folk songs were often top 10 hits without recognising their pedigree?

I am delighted to report that in 24 tracks there are treasures here that I had never heard of before but I want to hear as often as possible in future. "The Darby Ram" is one of these, as is "Paper and Pins."

It is no wonder some of the old songs are hard to recognise. Here we hear "Katie Dear," but it is also known as "Awake, Awake" and "Silver Dagger."

There are new songs here as well, of which the poignant and sad "Welcome in the End" is a great example. It is so unusual to hear a song that sounds so good as it refers to impending death.

Couple all these with some lively dance tunes and you get some idea of the value on offer with this CD. The liner notes are minimal but give a basic piece of information on each track. Buy it as a good collection of folk music, as a historic document or as a resource for your own repertoire -- but buy it.

- Rambles
written by Nicky Rossiter
published 22 March 2003

Buy it from