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Pete Fyfe

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Pipeline
Pipeline
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £22.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Pipeline - Pipeline, 10 July 2012
This review is from: Pipeline (Audio CD)
Many years ago I had the pleasure of working with the Hyde Brothers (then based in Scotland) in the short-lived band Malin Head. In a moment of "...I wonder what happened to them..." I was browsing the internet and came across the name Dermot Hyde working with a chap called Tom Hake as the duo Pipeline and based in Germany. And what a fine duo they are! Using their skills as multi-instrumentalists; Hyde (uilleann pipes/whistles/smallpipes) and Hake (bouzouki/guitar/harp/bass) pack quite a wallop with excellent instrumental set-pieces and vocals to match. Dermot's flair for traditional tunes is still obvious including a majestic "Rodney's Glory" but he also comes into his own as a song-writer of note particularly on "The Sweatshops Of Chicago" where the Bothy Band/Planxty style backing is juxtaposed by some quite stunning lilting reminiscent of something Christy Moore would have done in the `good old days'. Just as comfortable with Airs and ballads this personable twosome really does strike the right chord with those of us of a certain age. On another subject...Hyde's copious sleeve-notes convey (more than most artists I can think of) a true insider's knowledge of the (musician's) world he inhabits and should be required reading for those youngsters trying to establish themselves in the `folk' world...at this point rose tinted glasses should be dispensed with. If, like me you enjoy stories that can also stretch the imagination coupled with real showmanship I suggest you check out the website - You won't be disappointed.

PETE FYFE
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 6, 2013 8:34 PM BST


MARVIN WELCH & FARRAR/MARVIN WELCH & FAR
MARVIN WELCH & FARRAR/MARVIN WELCH & FAR
Price: £12.39

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvin Welch & Farrar - Marvin Welch & Farrar/Second Opinion, 17 Jun. 2012
How do you carry the burden of being so well established because of another vehicle (in this case The Shadows) that anything else you try pales into insignificance...at least in the eyes of a majority of the general public? Such was the case of Marvin, Welch & Farrar. Well, part of it may have had to do with the fact that they turned from electric gods into acoustic weaklings but, for me at least that's where a lot of their charm lay. OK, so the comparisons to Crosby, Stills & Nash are inevitable (MW&F even said so themselves) and to some lesser extent the band America but if you give it a chance, particularly in 2012 where `acoustic' music is being heralded as the second coming there may hopefully be reawakened interest. Now, far be it for me to be critical but I'm not sure about the opening track "You're Burning Bridges" which apparently met with approval from more knowledgeable scribes than me but the intonation on the nylon strung guitar is what might politely be described as being a bit dodgy. The second track "A Thousand Conversations" however is a different kettle of fish with its gently picked 12-string introduction and seductive string arrangement which wouldn't sound out of place on a BBC Radio 2 show. Collectively Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and John Farrar could rock it out when they needed to as can be witnessed on "Throw Down A Line" and surely a contender alongside the likes of the Goo-Goo Dolls for a Hollywood soundtrack. I just knew when I got this album I was going to be in for a treat little realising just how much of a treat it really turned out to be...a bit like getting the purple wrapped chocolate in a box of Quality Street. If you're into a slice of country-rock or just into great harmonies and guitar performances then may I humbly suggest you start here.

PETE FYFE


SWARBRICK, SWARBRICK 2, SMIDDYBURN
SWARBRICK, SWARBRICK 2, SMIDDYBURN
Price: £15.25

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars DAVE SWARBRICK - Swarbrick/Swarbrick 2/Smiddyburn (BGOCD979), 11 Jun. 2012
This tremendous 2-disk, 3-album set by that quintessential fiddler Dave Swarbrick should be required listening and possibly one of the best boxed sets to grace any `folk music' CD collection. Containing as it does his two `solo' albums from the late 70's and the excellent "Smiddyburn" (1981) the record company Beat Goes On [BGO] deserve a round of applause for releasing yet another `must have' anthology. If you haven't already got them (and why not?) the first two albums feature predominantly `acoustic' sets whilst the third utilises the services of his band mates from Fairport Convention to buoy what to me is probably one of the best `instrumental' albums in the `folk-rock' genre. From a preference point of view and, although having made his mark for his flashy flourishes of Celtic brilliance it is the English personified Playford tunes "The Hole In The Wall" and "Once I Loved A Maiden Fair" that stand out from the crowd. Mind you, if it is the dazzling display of showmanship that you're looking for I'd suggest you check out the sparkling three-handed mandolin arrangements jointly performed by Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg and Swarb on "Sir Charles Coote/Smiths" and "When The Battle Is Over" or the Japanese sounding "Ribbons Of The Redheaded Girl". By the way if you're wondering where Dave got some of his inspiration from check out the sadly now departed Beryl Marriott's solo on "Lady Mary Hay's Scotch Measure"...simply brilliant!

PETE FYFE


Gannin' To Blaydon Races! The Songs Of George Ridley
Gannin' To Blaydon Races! The Songs Of George Ridley
Offered by jgwindowsltd
Price: £14.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars VARIOUS ARTISTS - Gannin' To Blaydon Races, 11 Jun. 2012
The unitary district of Northumberland is to be lauded for its musical contributions to the world including as it does Billy Mitchell, Lindisfarne and Jack The Lad etc and perhaps none more so than the unofficial anthem "Blaydon Races" written by George `Geordie' Ridley. This 19th Century song captures the very essence of the community at the time and performed in glorious recitation by Benny Graham conveys the fun in the chorus with its extended holding on the word `roaaaaad' (think Newcastle United supporters on a beery match afternoon!) joined by members of The Whole Hog Band. This recording of Ridley's classic, along with the other 16 songs he penned in his short life should form a part of every `folk music' lover's CD collection. On the album, the `music hall' genre of which the song is a celebrated fixture also features Ridley's other `hit' "Cushey Butterfield" and less well-known gems "Joey Jones", "Cabman" and "Harry Clasper" performed by artists including Jim Mageean, Johnny Handle, Brian Watson and Terry Conway. Credit must also go to the arranging skills of Vic Gammon and the wonderful team at Mawson-Wareham who have more or less single-handedly taken the reins in promoting the spirit of Northumberland. With an eye to capturing every `entertainment market' there is an accompanying DVD on the story of Ridley (featuring actor Craig Conway) produced by Ray Raidlaw & Geoff Wonfor and, as if that wasn't enough there is also a sumptuously packaged book by author Dave Harker providing the reader with everything you needed to know about this most colourful character and the hopefully never to be forgotten era of the music hall. Talking of which...I nearly forgot...if you're looking for a good old fashioned sing-a-long then look no further, it's a wonderful collection!

PETE FYFE


Chasing The Sun
Chasing The Sun
Price: £11.34

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars JAMES ROSS - Chasing The Sun, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Chasing The Sun (Audio CD)
Sitting here in my flat with the gradually diminishing lights of the neighbourhood dancing like a demented `Tinkerbell' from Peter Pan at 02:26am can't do much for my health...or so my doctor keeps telling me. Still, here I am and at least I've got the sounds of James Ross for company. Perhaps in another world I'd be somewhere like the Shetlands for if this album can't provide that inner sense of tranquillity I don't know what else can. Opening with the starkly brooding beauty of "Beyond The Strath" the single piano note introduction sets the tone of what is to unfold and by glancing at the accompanying sleeve photographs courtesy of Catriona Murray you get a real sense of time of space. Lounging around in a comfy arm chair with my headphones on (so as not to disturb "she who must be obeyed") and my feet up I'm quite happy being transported to the majestic battle scarred hills and water lapped lochs created by Ross's imaginative soundscape. In sculpting this audio image he is aided and abetted by various wind and string instruments whose textures emphasise the ever evolving time signatures in a showcase of creative thinking extending the links of jazz sensitivities with a nod to traditional themes. Evoking memories of Michael O'Suilleabhain yet miles away from the days of Russ Conway's "Sidesaddle" in his own way James `entertains' albeit on a slightly more highbrow note.

PETE FYFE


The Oxenhope EP
The Oxenhope EP
Offered by Preowned Discs Direct
Price: £4.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars STEVE TILSTON & THE DURBERVILLES - The Oxenhope EP, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Oxenhope EP (Audio CD)
OK, so I nearly consigned this 5-track CD to the "don't bother" pile. Perhaps I should explain...I hate half-cocked albums with only a few tracks and, for some reason becoming ever more popular with `folk' artists. A lot of my mates, myself included feel cheated and after all, if you've only got half an album then why bother? Still, now that I've got that off my chest I'm pleased to report that this is a really nice recording. The reason I played it in the first place was to hear the dulcet tones and technically flawless guitar from the always excellent Steve Tilston. That he is joined by the equally impressive `country-ish' sound of The Durbervilles; Lee Walker (12-string guitar), David Crickmore (banjo, mandolin & electric guitar), Mark Boyce (drums), Gus Taylor (accordion) and Ruth Wilde (double bass and bass guitar) with nearly all members contributing vocals really create an impressive wall of sound. From the subtle groove of the opening track "Oil And Water" to the up-beat Big Geraniums (remember them?) sounding "There She Blows" between them the `band' manage to make every track count so perhaps I shouldn't have been so dismissive in the first place but please, next time make it the full Monty! By the way, is it me or does anyone else hear a young Dave Burland (without the burr) in Steve's voice or perhaps maybe I'm being a tad obsequious?

PETE FYFE


In Port
In Port
Price: £10.66

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CYRIL TAWNEY - In Port, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: In Port (Audio CD)
The mere mention of the name Cyril Tawney brings pleasure to many Shanty singers around the world. Therefore this re-release of his "In Port" album (originally released on the Argo record label) by those very nice chaps at Talking Elephant Records (Barry & Malcolm) comes at a time when all songs sea-based are at something of a zenith due in part to the success of Port Isaac's Fisherman's Friends, The Pirates Of The Caribbean movies and even `The Choir's' Gareth Malone taking an interest. Several of Tawney's songs have become an established part of `folk' history (and rightly so) among them "Sally Free And Easy", "Chicken On A Raft" and "The Grey Funnel Line" all of which appear here. Whether acapella or with minimal backing from Dennis McCallum (accordion) and The Yetties it's Cyril's vocals (in my view not dissimilar to a lesser `mannered' Ewan MacColl) that holds everything together like the use of resorcinol glue binding the timbers of boats together. For good measure there are extensive notes by the man himself on how the songs came about and provide an insightful and interesting `read'. On another subject with Cyril sadly having passed away in 2005 it's interesting to note that the tradition of sea-faring `slang' and `terms' are now becoming lost (even on today's youthful Navy recruits) so let's savour the memories while we can and indulge ourselves in company with this wonderful ex-sub mariner.

PETE FYFE


The Coast Road
The Coast Road
Price: £15.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars KAREN RYAN - The Coast Road, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Coast Road (Audio CD)
This is the kind of recording that harks back to the old days of "Paddy In The Smoke" and Danny `Concrete Fingers' Meehan playing at The Favourite. Possibly aimed at a more traditionally biased audience Ryan's style of fiddle playing (sometimes opening with the predominantly two chord piano introduction so beloved of Irish set dancers everywhere provided by long term associate Pete Quinn) will give some indication to those like myself who used to sit at the altar of the likes of Raymond Rowland, Liam Farrell and John Bowe. There are plenty of great standards including "Sally Gardens", "Miss McCloud's" and "Saddle The Pony" but it's Karen's beautifully fluid whistle playing on "The Swallow's Tail/The Sunny Banks/The London Lasses" set that does it for me. This may not be a rip-roaring album or one that's trying to be `different' but if its rock solid performances of some excellent tunes you're looking for I'd suggest you check it out.

PETE FYFE


The Plum Tree And The Rose
The Plum Tree And The Rose
Price: £15.78

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SARAH McQUAID - The Plum Tree And The Rose, 7 Jun. 2012
Much like her heroine Bess Of Hardwick ("Hardwick's Lofty Towers") Sarah McQuaid has the intelligence and tenacity to cultivate her lyrics so that the legacy of her song-writing will remain long after she has passed away. If that sounds morose it isn't meant to be. It's just that McQuaid's way with words will draw you in and leave you feeling as if you've just stepped from an invigorating shower. She's the kind of writer who conveys her thoughts brilliantly via the media of music and, take for instance the opening track "Lift You Up And Let You Fly" within a few short verses she is able to let the listener know the pain but understanding in watching a child's development and eventual release into the world with all the compassion of a mum who (hopefully) doesn't watch Jeremy Kyle. It has to be said that from a listener's point of view this is where the producer and musician Gerry O'Beirne's skill in utilising Bill Blackmore's flugelhorn is an astute piece of placement. Think of Christy Moore's "All For The Roses" if you're unsure where you've heard this thought process before and, whilst on the subject of instrumentation much as I'd like to name every musician who contributed to this beautifully crafted album I'm afraid I can't as I haven't got the space. Let's just say I'm bowled over with the creative input from everyone involved. In truth I could write a whole book on the subject of Sarah McQuaid's way with words but perhaps that is best left to the lady herself. In the meantime I suppose I'll just have to kill time waiting expectantly to hear the next album which if it's anything like this recording will receive another ten out of ten. Highly recommended...buy it, buy it, buy it!

PETE FYFE


20
20
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GRACE NOTES - 20, 7 Jun. 2012
This review is from: 20 (Audio CD)
Celebrating twenty years together as a trio Maggie Boyle, Helen Hockenhull and Lynda Hardcastle unwrap their latest album which like the image on the CD sleeve proves a piece of cake. Not from the arrangements you understand...but in the listening. Unlike say Military Wives where everything is pretty much full-on Grace Notes prove that subtlety and strategically placed solo performances count far more than just straight forward ensemble set-pieces. Of course, three-part harmonies feature on a majority of the songs which perfectly reflect their choice of traditional and contemporary material including standards "Two Sisters", "Mingulay Boat Song" and the more recent "Magdalene Laundry" and Richard Shindell's "Wisteria". Each of the members have distinctive voices and harnessing their instrumental talents including flute, bodhran, keyboards, mandolin and recorder they add that little extra something to the melting pot. Of all the 20 estimable tracks on a fine recording my favourite is the gothic re-telling of "Reynardine" which in my personal opinion sounds more like Rosie Cross of Pyewackett interpretation than Sandy Denny whom the trio acknowledge in their sleeve-notes.

PETE FYFE


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