Reviews of The Dollymopps

Wight Cockade Reviews 2014                                                Long Songs Reviews 2011


CD Cover

“The Dollymopps’…second studio release Wight Cockade, sees the group continue to herald the beauty and exquisite nature of the folk tradition of the South of England…An album which is exciting and extremely relevant to the composition of the folk scene today… Fierce harmonies, strong, dynamic voices and flawless storytelling…fine musicianship, hearty singing and a chance to hear songs from the depth of a local tradition, something to be both celebrated and thoroughly enjoyed.”  (Bright Young Folk – 2014)



“The Dollymopps are doing a grand job exposing little-known material from the Isle of Wight, and Wight Cockade is another excellent example of their pioneering work.”  (R2 Rock’n’Reel – 2014)R2 2014 Review

“There’s a principle expounded by Scots song collectors and scholars, ‘dig where you stand!’ and that’s pretty much what this band are committed to doing. The result is, once again, a compelling and intelligently crafted album with lots of eyebrow raisers in the form of songs that are unfamiliar or presented in unfamiliar versions…the presentation is mostly a cappella with some strong and secure harmonies (with) an edge and sense of musical risk taking which makes me smile a lot and remember the Young Tradition and the Watersons…This CD was a delight to listen to…There are a couple of tracks on this album that I shall be learning and singing! Nuff said?”  (fRoots 2014)Froots 2014 Review

“The Dollymopps…approach to harmony is extraordinary yet exhilarating and tends not to pander to orthodox chord structures, taking the listener constantly by surprise…it gives their music and excitement which never obscures the melody or storyline and, for me, sets them apart from many other traditional style harmony trios…Wight Cockade is an important body of work that will no doubt become a source of material for other performers as time passes… I can think of no reason why anyone who truly appreciates traditional folk song wouldn’t be wanting (needing even) to have this seminal CD in their collection…Great talent indeed!”  (The Living Tradition – 2014)Living Trad 2014 Review

“The Dollymopps are three fine singers from the Isle of Wight who have made it their mission to research songs collected from the island. Their harmonies are tight…and demonstrate their ability to deliver the songs with excellent phrasing and dynamics…if you enjoy unaccompanied harmony singing of traditional songs you will undoubtedly enjoy this CD.”  (English Dance & Song – 2014)English Dance & Song 2014 Review

“If you’re sick of all things slick and heavily produced, here’s the antidote. The Dollymopps are a trio from Britain’s Isle of Wight who specialize in reviving old songs and singing them unaccompanied in three-part harmony…Theirs’ is hand-cupped-to-the-ear full-throated singing–often in minor keys and frequently sporting unusual chord changes and unexpected harmonies….This is a deliciously old-fashioned album. It does, however, demand close listening and it’s not for all tastes. If you need your music processed, heavily backed, and coming at you with mirror balls at 128 beats per minute, steer clear of the shoals. This is music for peasant clothes, a peat fire, and a mug of real ale.”  (Off-Center Views USA – 2014)

“For those unfamiliar with them, The Dollymopps are a trio that sing mainly unaccompanied songs from the folk tradition of Southern England – with a particular emphasis on songs collected from their native Isle of Wight. Their first CD, Long Songs, concentrated on songs published by W.H. Long in 1886 – inevitably without tunes. They set themselves the task of finding relatively local tunes to fit them and succeeded splendidly. The same applies here…lovely stuff!”  (Mustrad – 2104)

“The Dollymopps hail from the Isle of Wight and specialize in singing the songs of that specific region.  As far as performance style goes The Dollymopps have been frequently compared with The Young Tradition – and yes, I can hear a comparable forthrightness of delivery and purpose…whereas for those listeners more used to The Copper Family’s style of singing The Dollymopps’ bolder and more sophisticated approach to harmony will probably disorientate , at least at first,.,but having got used to, is as likely to delight as disconcert.   In all Wight Cockade is a well sequenced collection replete with superb singing, one that yields dome delightful discoveries.”  (FATEA – 2014)

“The Dollymopps’… singing is strong, honest and compellingly authentic, there are traces of The Young Tradition and The Watersons but this is no bad thing… (and) there is a sense that the singers wish the songs to stand for themselves, rather than as vehicle for the singing – and this is both right and proper…The result is listenable album with much to recommend for those who enjoy traditional singing.”  (fRoots – 2011)

“Transplant the Watersons or the Copper Family to the Isle of Wight and you’ve got the (mostly) unaccompanied style of The Dollymopps…This is cupped hand-to-the-ear three-part harmony singing stripped to its glorious basics.”  (Sing Out! USA – 2011)

“The Dollymopps possess an individual blend of voices and an honest, solid, natural and unpretentious (yet still authoritative) singing style that at times reminds me of… The Young Tradition, with occasional shades of classic Watersons and even the Coppers along the way; their diction is clear too, with a keen feel for communicating their chosen repertoire… the readings are full of conviction yet welcomingly accessible, and stand up very well indeed to repeated listening…The recording is suitably immediate, and full of as-live presence… This disc is well worth tracking down, and I do hope the Dollymopps feel sufficiently motivated by its success to record a further selection of ‘Long Songs’ in due course.”  (Folk Roundabout – 2011)

“I think your record is a delight, so carefully and lovingly put together, so of it’s place and paradoxically, of it’s time. Your recording boldly wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve and, in these straightened times that elevates it for me… For those of us troubled by the establishment’s attempt to monitor our every mouse click the Dollymopps are way ahead of the curve.”  (Chris Wood – 2011)

“What a great discovery… fine research, good songs, and spirited performances… a terrific achievement and a very enjoyable CD.”  (Shirley Collins – 2011)

“This disc was certainly worth waiting for…singing largely unaccompanied, Virgil & Dorana Philpott and Justin Smith’s voices combine in a robust manner of The Coppers or, perhaps a closer comparison for those with long memories, Staverton Bridge. …It’s good to have these regional variations particularly when performed with such conviction and aplomb… a fine album by a trio with real vocal presence which will be warmly welcomed by anyone with a love of English song.”   (R2 Rock’n’Reel Magazine – 2011)

“In The Dollymopps we have three extremely stout (and multi- talented) yeo-persons… who have a clear depth of understanding of the genre they are part of – within which they are deservedly ploughing a furrow for themselves as a result. Their passion and dedication rings through loud and clear with every offering. In short: everything that’s good about English traditional harmony singing on a stick!”  (Keith Kendrick – 2011)

“Virgil Philpott, Dorana Philpott and Justin Smith sing characterful three-part harmonies with vigorous heart and an obvious rapport. There are hints of Coope, Boyes and Simpson and Blue Murder in the group’s easy warmth …Long Songs does a great job in lifting the music from the dusty pages of the dialect dictionary.  An enjoyable document of Long’s labours, and an apt celebration of the Isle.”  (Bright Young Folk – 2011)

“I did enjoy your delicate approach to your singing.  The best new experience at Sidmouth this year!”  (Ken Langsbury – 2012)

“The Dollymopps’ debut CD – Long Songs – features fifteen traditional songs collected on their native Isle of Wight by local historian and antiquarian W. H. Long… it’s a quality production with great artwork and informative notes and the recordings, each done in one take with no overdubs, brilliantly capture the spirit of a Dollymopps performance. W. H. Long had the foresight to preserve the Island’s songs by ‘taking them down from the lips of the singers’ and committing the words to print in 1886. The Dollymopps have played their part by lifting those words off the page, matching them to traditional tunes, and breathing life back into them. They should be very proud of this CD. I feel sure that W. H. Long would be.”  (Forest Tracks – 2011)

“The Dollymopps (Dorana and Virgil Philpott and Justin Smith) are a breath of fresh air to the folk scene, but if you want to describe why, you may have difficulty in deciding where to start. They sing well, both individually and collectively and Virgil’s guitar playing is a delight. Their knowledge of folk songs is excellent and I don’t mind their mischievous tendency to sing different versions of things, or alter them, or that they’re from an obscure source on the Isle of Wight. They create a Waterson / Coppers ‘folk family’ sound but there is a closer harmony with the odd mischievous wobbly thrown in and more overall brightness than average. The guitar, which only appears on some tracks is unashamedly Nic Jones and provides a very good full sound.”  (This is Hampshire – 2011)