The subtitle for this recording is Electric Ceilidh with Guts and that about describes it. Imagine an English countrydance band that features ? along with melodeon, guitar, bass and drums ? the bass trombone. What a sound Random makes! The repertoire is pretty standard with a nod to master brass arranger Robert Kirby.
Random features Saul Rose, melodeon, accordion and percussion; Paul Nye, melodeon, harmonica and percussion; Keith Holloway, bass guitar, mandolin and percussion; Ian Woledge, guitar; Roger Smith, drums; and Glynn Burch, bass trombone and treble recorder.
The sound is rollicking featuring Dave Mattacks?inspired drumming with crashing cymbals and a strong emphasis on the backbeat, while the melodeons swirl in and out of the mix, all the while the electric bass and bass trombone bolster the bottom end. Its a powerful but purely delightful sound similar to Ashley Hutchings experiments with electric Morris dance music on the original Morris On recording.
To highlight a particular selection is difficult, as all the tunes, mostly in medleys of two, are very strong. The unusual pairing of Portsmouth and Staten Island is of particular interest. Portsmouth is taken at a very deliberate tempo with a strong bass line and martial style percussion. Staten Island, a hornpipe well known on these shores, begins with a cross?panned melodeon and later morphs into a driving dance tune.
The most obvious Morris influence is in the medley of the Rochdale Coconut Dance and the Tip Top Polka. The syncopated drumming and the dual melodeons just beg for some bells and dancing feet. I defy you to stay off the floor!
The Morris On experiment ended much too soon but created some wonderful and original sounds. Random has revived that sound and has added a few exciting twists of their own. � TD