One of the best new English music albums I have heard for a long, long time! Mike Harding BBC Radio Two. This collection of material draws heavily on the traditional end of PJDs current working repertoire. Though all group members input into the choice of material, the song ideas tend to come from James. Although not all of the songs are traditional they are performed with a traditional sound and acompanied by a range of instruments including: fiddle, concertina, guitar, mandolin, bass and in one case Hammond organ.
We think Patterson Jordan Dipper is extra special - hope you think so too!, says the scribbled note from the LT office which accompanied Flat Earth. In other words, Slag off this one if you dare! I enjoy a challenge, so I attempted find something to criticise. Fat chance. WildGoose are developing quite a reputation for excellence in production, and this CD is well up to standard. The inlay, with its atmospheric images, is a model of elegant restraint - and thats before you get to the eclectic choice of songs and their impeccable arrangement and interpretation.
Patterson and Jordan had been around the musical block but they only met Dipper at Whitby in 2000. An empathy remarkable given such brief acquaintance is evident on material as diverse as The Game Of All Fours, with its erotic echoes of the chess game in The Thomas Crown Affair, to Ewan MacColls The Manchester Rambler with additions by John Tams. Even well-worn numbers like Rounding The Horn and William Taylor sound newminted, sprinkled with the angel-dust of Jordan and Dippers sprightly accompaniment. A surprising inclusion is Flanders and Swanns The Slow Train, with just the right elegiac yet urbane note struck by Pattersons vocal. Patterson has a wonderfully expressive voice,virtually devoid of mannerism and the ornamentation affected by some revival singers, which allows the songs to breathe and words heard maybe dozens of times to resonate afresh in the mind.
There is a reassuringly solid feel to the whole CD, reinforced by the complete absence of flash playing just for the sake of it. We had fun making the recording, says Patterson in his inlay notes and it shows; Flat Earth is a box of delights which simply could not have been created by going through the motions. Extra-special? Yes, I think thats about right. Review by Dave Tuxford for The Living Tradition magazine