This is a re-release on CD of two albums recorded at the same sessions in 1981 and originally released in 1981 (Smiddyburn) and 1983 (Flittin'). These were the fifth and sixth Albums released as Swarb solos in the period after he left Fairport Convention.
Swarb's playing is magnificent throughout on both fiddle and mandolin, and he is accompanied by various combinations of seven musicians. On seven tracks the band comprises former Fairport colleagues Richard Thompson (guitar and mandocello), Simon Nicol (guitar), Dave Pegg (bass guitar and mandolin) and Dave Mattacks (drums). Fairport fans will instantly recognise this as the "Full House" line-up from 1970. Nicol also features with Bruce Rowland, another Fairport drummer, Beryl Mariott (piano and piano accordion) and John McCormick (double bass) on a further four tracks. On the remaining tracks Swarb plays with Thompson and Pegg (three tracks), Nicol and Marriott (one track) and Nicol alone (one track).
All the music bar one track is instrumental, mainly of traditional tunes. The programme is well balanced, with changes in pace from rapid and dashing dance tunes to slow, soulful and reflective airs. The odd track out is Sandy Denny's "It Suites Me Well" (from her "Sandy" album), which Swarb sings with the "Full House" band.
I bought this CD to replace the original vinyl albums, and I had forgotten just how good they are. This is music for many moods and all moods, played by musicians who clearly love playing. I thoroughly recommend it, and at this price it offers excellent value.