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Pete Fyfe

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Northumbrian Voices
Northumbrian Voices
Price: 14.86

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kathryn Tickell - Northumbrian Voices, 5 Oct 2012
This review is from: Northumbrian Voices (Audio CD)
There can be nobody prouder than a father and raconteur (Mike Tickell) witnessing his daughter entertaining an audience from centre stage and in this case the daughter (Kathryn Tickell) vice-versa. That much is obvious from the camaraderie of everyone involved on this wonderfully crafted 2-disk set from those very fine chaps at Park Records. Now, where do you place a recording that would comfortably settle on either an audio book or music CD shelf? Well, for me it sits alongside my previous recordings of her albums of which I profess to own most of them. Although internationally recognised for her achievements in `folk' music circles as one of its major driving forces when it comes to her native Northumbria this beautiful part of the North-East couldn't find a better ambassador. After sifting through many old cassettes Kathryn had the unenviable task of selecting certain recordings that represented her friends, family and neighbours. With respect, that part of the process must have been made easy as all involved impart their wit and wisdom with such convivial jocularity that you'll wish you could have been there in person. For those of us lucky enough to witness the `Border Shepherds' (Willie Taylor, Will Atkinson and Joe Hutton) in the early 80's have much to be thankful for and it's a treat to be reminded of their gentle banter and good humour celebrated by Martin Simpson's song simply titled "Will Atkinson" and sung acapella by the girls. Talking of which...hearty congratulations all round to Tickell's accompanying musicians; Hannah Rickard (fiddle), Kit Haigh (guitar), Patsy Reid (fiddle), Julian Sutton (melodeon), David McCracken (voice) and Amy Thatcher's piano accordion. This album was obviously a labour of love and one that will warmly embrace the listener like a freshly stoked fire and if somebody can kindly get my slippers, pipe and bottle of Newcastle Brown I'll be an even happier man. Finally...anyone who can complement me on my use of polyrhythm guitar (and know what they're talking about) at Gosport & Fareham Festival is alright in my books! [...]

PETE FYFE


The Lock In: Featuring The Demon Barbers [DVD]
The Lock In: Featuring The Demon Barbers [DVD]
Dvd ~ Demon Barbers
Offered by A2Z Entertains
Price: 9.88

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Lock-In, 3 Oct 2012
Having witnessed the `Celtic' hit Riverdance on its opening night in London in 1995 and being absolutely blown-away (as was the sold-out audience) by the effervescent amalgamation of dance techniques I wondered if there might ever be a British `folk' equivalent. Well, for me that long wait has now been answered with The Demon Barbers folk/hip hop theatre production "The Lock-In" formerly known as Time Gentlemen Please. Now, maybe it's just me but the opening scene with its American Werewolf In London type pub set-piece being visited by three hip-hop dancers (and a particularly flash back-flip by one of them) perhaps seems a bit contrived as does the pantomime-ish rubbing of a pewter tankard in place of the obligatory genie's lamp but bear with me, enter three clog dancers and the scenario is almost complete. As with Riverdance a battle of dance techniques ensues although this does appear slightly limited to the clash of hip-hop and traditional styles (Sword Dance, Rapper and Morris etc) and before anyone judges me of being ignorant about the other styles of modern dance technique I hold my hands up as accused. The inclusion of Grace Savage's human beat-box is an interesting twist although I'm not sure about Ben Griffith's `Jasmine' the pub `landlady'...far too camp for my tastes and for those not into the Morris tradition it seems a pretty unusual character to include and a major distraction (for me anyway) from the rest of the performance. The song "Captain Ward" is a nice addition and the band carry this off with aplomb which leaves me somewhat surprised that they didn't include quite a few more songs for good measure. While we're on the subject of the musicians I was particularly impressed by Bryony Griffith's fiddle playing and her understanding of the intricacies of `Morris' tempos...so much more than just 4/4 or 6/8 rhythms! As for the sound engineering by Andy Bell and filming directed by Nigel Horne this is exemplary work and carries over to the excellent interview with Damien Barber and the other extra features. Even if you're not particularly into dance but just into the mechanics of how a theatrical production evolves I'd suggest you purchase a copy of this DVD. [...]
PETE FYFE


Flash Company
Flash Company
Price: 13.99

3.0 out of 5 stars OUTSIDE TRACK - Flash Company, 1 Oct 2012
This review is from: Flash Company (Audio CD)
It's nice to be uplifted every now and then and anyone that has witnessed the recently televised 2012 Olympics should appreciate this recording opening as it does with the question and answer riddle song "False Knight On The Road". The multi-layered accompaniment featuring first a chunky (though not clunky) sparring rhythm guitar, fiddle and vocal joined by harp, bass, accordion and finally layered vocals it's obvious The Outside Track know how to utilise their instruments to the best effect in much the same way that Clannad did in their early years. This strategic placement allows the band full musical scope culminating in a subtle crescendo that delivers excellent results and should (unless you've had your smiling gear removed) bring a warm glow to their listening public. Onto the second track and Cillian O'Dalaigh's guitar set-up which sounds a bit like that of Extreme's single "Words" makes no bones (well, the tune set title is titled "The Body Parts Set" after all) in showcasing the technical abilities of Fiona Black, Mairi Rankin, Norah Rendell and Allie Robertson. Personally speaking I couldn't find a duff track here and catering as it will do for a majority of the traditional biased `folk' market the band have produced an album that will sit comfortably on the shelf alongside artists the calibre of The Tannahill Weavers, Pentangle and Jock Tamson's Bairns. Highly recommended! [...]

PETE FYFE


Hook
Hook
Price: 12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars MacMaster/Hay - Hook, 1 Oct 2012
This review is from: Hook (Audio CD)
Make no mistake this is a real thinking person's album. It's quite obvious from the opening track "Hook" that it feels in many ways like a musical equivalent of being hypnotised by Derren Brown or Paul McKenna. The ponderously mesmerising harp bass hook underpinned by gentle use of percussion and Mary's vocal washes over you as if you were in some kind of techno `spa'. Whether or not it was a good idea to start in this way is a question of taste as it could leave the listener (me included) thinking there was something wrong with the recording as it sounds a bit like a repeated scratch on an old vinyl album but, having said that it's an incredibly infectious piece of traditional Gaelic `mouth music'...for want of a better term. In the rather limited sleeve notes (a couple of lines) Mary states that she's grateful for the translated words but to be perfectly honest I wouldn't know what they meant as there are no accompanying details and surely this could have been rectified by including them on your own official website not myspace (!) for those of us that have no knowledge of the Gaelic language. However, something that can be gleaned from the sleeve notes is how a good landscape ("Chimes") can be conducive to your artistic endeavours and by allowing the listener the opportunity of enjoying this experience you can provide a kind of inner peace not sullied by over indulgent instrumentation. As my mum used to say this is a reflective and very personal recording and we should all be grateful that musicians the calibre of MacMaster/Hay are there to steer us via their own unique take on things to a loftier level of thinking. [...]

PETE FYFE


In Glorious Mono
In Glorious Mono
Price: 13.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Hot Fingers - In Glorious Mono, 9 Sep 2012
This review is from: In Glorious Mono (Audio CD)
Years ago I used to pop to my local pub (anyone remember those?) and be `entertained' by artists the calibre of Bill Posters Will Be Band and Bob Kerr's Whoopee Band. Well, they're becoming a rare breed these days so it's refreshing to find a CD from those nice folks at Lake Records (more commonly known to you and me as Paul Adams at Fellside Records) with a group of artists capturing that lazy Sunday afternoon feeling. A real `Festival' pleaser you can prime yourselves with a glass of Pimms, put on your straw hat and sun-glasses as you bask in the fruity tones of Hot Fingers. Led by the effervescent Spats Langham on Banjo, Guitar, Ukulele and Vocals, Malcolm Sked (Double Bass/Tuba), Emily Campbell (Vocals/Triangle) and multi-instrumentalist Danny Blythe on Guitar, Mandolin, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet and Harmonica this quartet certainly know how to cook. They even dress for the occasion with their sartorially snappy suits and cocktail dress looking every inch the `dandies' they more than likely are. I must admit to not knowing a majority of their repertoire with the exception of "Can't Help Lovin' That Man Of Mine", Albert Ketelbey's "In A Persian Market" and a couple of others but who cares when you've got 23 bright and breezy tracks to choose from? If you long for the days of Acker Bilk and Kenny Ball check this CD out...you won't be disappointed. [...]

PETE FYFE


The Ukuleles
The Ukuleles
Price: 10.94

3.0 out of 5 stars The Ukuleles - The Ukuleles, 8 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Ukuleles (Audio CD)
Logan Wilson & Martha Paton are The Ukuleles. Perhaps something in the title will give you a hint (and it isn't the word `The') as to what instrument they utilise to convey they're good-time summer of love styled music. It's nice to see artists who aren't snobbish when it comes to thinking about the pounds in their pockets and by playing to the consumer in us all in my opinion they've judged their set pretty well. Even if like me you only know `that song from the radio' and TV (referring to "Girl On The Platform") in the annoying Match.com advert at least the duo are `current' in their choice of material. Other contenders from their "I've heard that before but don't know where" repertoire include covers of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You" (and it certainly wasn't called that originally...google it!) and Adele's "Rolling In The Deep". Turned into a kind of Native American number this track has (like Adele's version) real soul with Paton certainly proving a fair old `chanter' as my Northern mates might say. Light and breezy with the obligatory cover of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's interpretation of "Over The Rainbow" the duo will, along with the Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain and (dare I mention the name) George Formby bring gravitas to the malnourished member of the guitar `family'[...]

PETE FYFE


The No Testament
The No Testament
Price: 12.95

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sam Carter - The No Testament, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: The No Testament (Audio CD)
In 2010 Sam Carter was on the `folk' scene radar with his debut album and a name to watch out for. Since then he's been a bit quiet only now returning with that second `difficult' album. Starting somewhat bizarrely (to me at least) with the shape-note intro "Antioch" leading into an anthem for our times "Dreams Are Made Of Money" this track certainly has a touch of the Dransfields about it. There's a cynicism in Carter's voice that is pitched just right and by the time he gets to the broadside ballad "Jack Hall" he's pretty much cracked it. Working in conjunction with fiddler Sam Sweeney on this particular track I'd swear Swarbrick & Carthy had a hand in the arrangement. Now, I wouldn't go so far as to say his presentation is lugubrious but the lyrical style of the song "The One" hits just the right chord if you watch a lot of what is currently deemed `drama' on television...buy the CD to see what I mean...and the addition of guest musicians Matt Ridley (double bass/bass guitar) and Sam Nadel on drums adds a nice touch of colour to the proceedings. Songs of the fear of old age and poignant tales of broken relationships all play their part in Sam's musical journey to the psychiatrist's chair (otherwise known as the `folk' scene) but I feel he's ultimately achieved a bulls-eye in his ability as a substantial singer-songwriter. Ok, so I've used more comparisons than I should have already in this review but if I'm allowed to mention just one more there's a touch of Pentangle about "No Other Side" and I personally feel there's nothing wrong in pointing these things out particularly if it's done with the best of intentions steering the listener to similar conclusions. [...]

PETE FYFE


McGOLDRICK, McCUSKER, DOYLE - LIVE
McGOLDRICK, McCUSKER, DOYLE - LIVE
Offered by Coda Music Scotland
Price: 12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McGoldrick McCusker Doyle - Live, 4 Sep 2012
Like your draw dropping open when you first saw Mo Farah or Usane Bolt at the Olympics you know you are witnessing something special given the combined talents of Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle taking to the stage and this CD magnificently captures that moment for posterity. Make no mistake, when this personable three-piece start playing they intend to take no prisoners and in spreading their Celtic passion and passing it amongst their audience like a sprinkling of fairy dust the end result is `magic'. Doyle injects a funky, rhythmic style in his guitar playing that would ignite the Olympic cauldron (Danny Boyle missed an opportunity there) whilst the fiddle/flute/pipes interplay from McGoldrick and McCusker assail your audio pleasure with exclamations of disbelief at the mastery of their chosen weapons. Like a shot of adrenaline individually and collectively the trio invigorate the listener with their mixture of traditional and self composed melodies and coupled with John's assured vocals (joined by guest Heidi Talbot on Nic Jones "Boys Of Bedlam") the lads combine in a musical camaraderie that just has to be experienced once in your lifetime. With the album coming in at a total of 1 hour 10 minutes I still (selfishly) want more. [...]

PETE FYFE


Writer of Songs
Writer of Songs

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harvey Andrews - Writer Of Songs, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Writer of Songs (Audio CD)
The nice thing about writing reviews in 2012 is that time is irrelevant. By that I mean I can write a review of an album recorded years ago and it will still appear as fresh today as it was then to a new set of enthusiastic internet savvy readers. Such is the case with Harvey Andrews debut album and it still remains as glorious now as it did in 1972. From the opening track "Hey! Sandy" projecting the point of view of oppressed students (much as they are now) and the charmless sentiment conveyed in the bruising lyrics of his classic but never more relevant "Soldier"...yes, we have much to thank Andrews for in not holding back when it came to a war of words and these two songs on there own are worth purchasing the album for. A quick name check of some of the guest musicians (a veritable who's who of the `folk' mafia at the time) should also wet the appetite including as it does Ralph McTell, Danny Thompson, Dave Pegg, Dave Mattacks and Rick Wakeman. Talking of Mr Wakeman, it's his beautifully restrained introduction before succumbing to the cheeky-chappie `pub piano' approach on the track "Boothferry Bridge" that makes sure the listener is engaged throughout the song...clever but unexpected. And that's only three of the numbers. This recording is a `true' classic and definitely a must-have for the shelf of anyone who claims to be a follower of `folk' music.[...]

PETE FYFE


Roots of the Banjo Tree
Roots of the Banjo Tree
Price: 5.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Banjo 3 - Roots Of The Banjo Tree, 4 Sep 2012
WOW (followed by as many exclamation marks as it's possible to give!) this album gets a resounding ten out of ten and then some. I chanced upon the title of the band via an E mail from folking.com and to say that I was intrigued would be to understate the issue. Banjo players (at least those I have the pleasure of knowing personally) won't mind me saying that the instrument is much derided within `music' circles but (if you) trust me and are a true `music' lover then do yourself a favour and buy this remarkable offering. Enda Scahill, Martin & David Howley between them show just how, given the right instrument you can engage the listener with displays of brilliant musicianship in both an entertaining (dirty word I know) and truly astonishing technical delivery without having to pander to the "'Ere mate do you play Duelling Banjos?" that is so often encountered in pubs these days. Having delved deep into the Traditional, Old Time and American Music Hall genres as well as doffing the cap to the likes of banjo maestro Gerry O'Connor by performing his beautiful air "Time To Time" alongside the great man himself our heroes all deserve gold medals. I knew the Olympics would crop up somewhere. On another subject it would be great if other `folk' artists would take a leaf out of We Banjo 3's books and invest some time and money in marketing their product with as much care and attention including the quality of the gatefold jacket, logo and website...ten out of ten for that as well! Dare I say it but if you hadn't guessed it already this CD will hopefully one day be considered on a par (in folk music terms) with say the first time you heard Steeleye or Fairport. Well, a man can fantasise can't he? [...]

PETE FYFE


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