Ian Robb and Finest Kind in Concert
Was it Mae West who said "Too much of good thing can be wonderful?" That has become the motto of the Cornell Folk Song Club this season. Ian Robb and Finest Kind come to Ithaca March 13 on the heels of a sellout concert by John Roberts and Tony Barrand. This means back-to-back concerts by different premier singers of British traditional songs in North America today. As a local music entrepreneur has observed, Ian Robb and John and Tony have been joyfully stealing from each other's repertoire for more than twenty years. And that means, of course, you can expect music hall ditties, sea shanties, pub songs, ballads (modern urban and traditional), dance tunes, songs of power and enchantment. It also means a rollicking concert full of good music and subtly outrageous humour.
Ian's early musical career was spent in England as part of the circle that included Peter Bellamy and Ewan MacColl. Ian became an early exponent of the English concertina. At some point in his life he migrated to Canada where his new musical circle included Stan Rogers. He became a founding member of Friends of Fiddler's Green. These days Ian most often blends his voice with Shelley Posen and Ann Downey as Finest Kind. Both Ann and Shelley possess remarkable voices of their own, and are no slouches on bass, guitar and assorted other instruments. Shelley is the one with the beard, so he must be the scholar of the group. When I have seen them before, the three of them made all the good fun seem so easy, and if things ever seemed to be a bit out-of-control, I think that was their plan.
For those of you who know WVBR's Bound for Glory, here's a testimonial: the last time Finest Kind played in Ithaca, it was on BFG, even the third set was a packed house.