.CD - Hums Ancient and Modern


The project was engineered by Roger Wilson (Warhorse, Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party, The House Band).  

Also we have top musician Dave Ledsam (Quadragog, Stone Monkey Rapper, Soar Valley Music) playing concertina or cello on three tracks.  

       Reviews & quotes re  'Hums Ancient           and Modern'

 If there were a Harris prize for the best punning CD title this year, here would be my winner. It’s a very appropriate title and all items are well chosen and well performed.

Richard Thompson’s ‘The King of Bohemia’ makes an impressive opener to the album, fittingly sung by Gren Morris in his resonant baritone. He takes the lead on all the songs, while Sam Stephens, well remembered for his duo work with Anne Lennox-Martin, adds harmonies and nimble guitar work that underpins the vocal without dominating it, the sign of a player who has a true grasp of what these songs require.

Other ‘modern’ songs include Graham Pratt’s ‘Merlin’s Song’, a beautifully harmonised version. (Sleeve note Wizards do not appear to be the first choice of subject by makers of soft toys.) Nice to see a Graham Pratt song still current.

There are some surprising song choices too. Who’d expect ‘Lover Come Back to Me’ from Sigmund Romberg’s ‘The Desert Song’ to crop up on a folkie record?  The same can be said of the closing track, Irving Berlin’s 1935 hit song ‘Cheek to Cheek’, immortalised by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the film ‘Top Hat’. Surprises yes, but well performed, especially Stephens’ guitar work on the latter.

Traditional songs are not neglected, ‘The Minor Lakes of Pontchartrain’, from the singing of Maggie Holland, is a tour de force. My personal favourite is ‘The Streams of Lovely Nancy’, but every track on this cd stands up well. Watch out for these lads at your club or festival.

 Roy Harris 

'Immediate, live-mode recordings from East-Midlands-based act of established pedigree. Their stock-in-trade is cultured, likeably unselfconscious, if sometimes quite arty-sounding, mostly guitar-and-vox renditions, interspersing trad with contemporary and some delicious connoisseurs' rarities.  Impeccable quality is assured and the duo's accomplishment and commitment are in no doubt'.


The title is appropriate - ancients like "Streams of Lovely Nancy" and "As I Roved Out" and late 20thC gems such as Thompson's "The King of Bohemia" and Waites's "Tom Traub's Blues, this last being arrived at via a delicious tratement of "Lament for Limerick". And then there are nods to the early 20th C...like Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek", preceded by another marvellous instrumental.

The guitar is played by Sam Stephens, remembered fondly by many of us up ‘ere for his peerless playing behind Anne Lennox Martin. .  “Hums” gives Sam free rein on a wide range of guitar styles. He showcases his terrific technique on three instrumentals (the two hinted at earlier plus a tune set suitable for Molly Dancing), while his accompaniments are utterly appropriate, whether deeply emotive or downright audacious.

 And then there’s Gren. Despite being such a cliché, there are times when only the words “rich baritone” will do... I must say that I find this to be a highly enjoyable album.  The wide sweep of the material, the excellent accompaniment and the fine singing are beautifully recorded (by Roger Wilson, no less). 
Hums Ancient and Modern is a great example of two time-served folkies singing what they like in the way that they like. Good luck to them.

Alan Rose

There is a wide selection of material on this album. Gren has a fine and most original voice and Sam's innovative harmonies and guitar arrangements complement this. A special mention for Jim Woodland's 'Miracles' and Graham Pratt's magical and menacingly sung 'Merlin's Song'. Every track stands up well and is gloriously sung; a CD we totally enjoyed.

Kathy and Bob Drage

'A fine piece of work'  Dave Sutherland 

' A fantastic pairing, great material, beautifully delivered'.

‘Gren …has a fine voice.
Sam’s guitar is exemplary…accompaniments are subtle,
the instrumentals are inspired’
Baz Parkes  

'Congratulations on a great CD' 

'I loved your CD'

'Good choice of songs and great playing and singing'.
Helen Hockenhull 

'The unaccompanied harmony in Merlin's Song by Graham Pratt is excellent'
Colin Andrews

'Very good voices with sensibly controlled accompaniment...Versatility...

Sigmund Romberg to Graham Pratt?
Brilliant!'  Bruce Cameron 


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