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A World Without Horses

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Album Review

The album is subtitled "A Portrait of a Traditional Singer," and that's truth in advertising. Taken from several sessions recorded during the '70s, this offers a full picture of Walter Pardon's remarkable talents as a singer. Some of the songs are fairly well-known ("The Dark Eyed Sailor" and "The Trees They Do Grow High," for example), but others, like "The Cunning Cobbler," aren't as familiar. The joy throughout is in the way Pardon lets the songs, especially the ballads he performed so well, unfold like a story. He's not a professional by any means, but a village singer, and his voice is a voice of the people, a conduit of history and tradition. In his singing and accent, the old ways, specifically of his native Norfolk, remain very much alive, and are as vibrant as any of the updated versions of any of these songs. Unaccompanied singing is a dying art, but in Pardon and his near neighbor, Harry Cox, Norfolk had two of the finest singers ever to emerge from England, and his death in 1996 meant another link with the past was severed. But thanks to these recordings, he lives on vividly, as does history.


Born: 04 March 1914 in Knapton, Norfolk, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '70s, '80s

The traditional songs of England were preserved through the efforts of Walter Pardon (born Walter William Pardon). Although he did not begin singing in public until the age of 60, Pardon made up for lost time, recording four albums of centuries-old ballads, parodies, and country songs. An only child, Pardon lived all of his life in the redbrick farm worker's cottage in which he was born. One of the few members of his family to not become a farmer, he worked most of his adult life as a carpenter....
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A World Without Horses, Walter Pardon
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