Mrs. Ackroyd Records
PO Box 95
South District Office
Manchester M20 4LB, UK
A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Judith Gennett
Bryan, TX KEOS Community Radio
Some of these little poem-stories are best appreciated by smart people acquainted with trivia. "Orifice Was An Italian Composer," is a story about music ("Do you have a phone here?" "Several. I have sacks o' phones.") and another "The Author's Story" jams zillions of author puns into a few meager mm of compact disc. "The Shipping Forecast" is a shipping forecast that makes no sense ("Cardigan, Fair Isle and Pullover..."). "Spot of the Antarctic" ends up the victim of a knife and fork. "Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower" 's assistants end up victims of the knife. "The Blood Donor," perhaps the most brilliantly bizarre of Barker's free form works, ends up the victim of an automated teller system.
Happily for this weary writer, Les Barker doesn't fool with a back up band, but The East London Society of People with Funny Laughs (ie the festival audience) provides background reinforcement and camaraderie. With such an accompaniment, the listener always knows when to laugh!
Barker's obviously English humor is warm and gentle though sometimes outrageously obnoxious. It is also inexplicably akin to that of Dr. Science. His voice is so lovely and melodic that the CD can be easily listened to even when the owner tires of the fate of Sooty on the Guillemot. I heartily recommend A CARDI AND BLOKE to Anglophiles and enthusiasts of the goofy alike!
[Editor's note: Barker's diminutive appearance, understated demeanor, and
ability to engage the audience make his live performances even funnier than