Toadstone

by Random

WGS328CD
Not Available

Gutsy, melodic, folk-rock interpretation of tunes with traditional roots, creates scintillating ceilidh music that will make you want to dance. The band is led and produced by by one of the best melodeon players in the country - Saul Rose



Random are:

Saul Rose - Melodeons
Glynn Burch - Trombone
Keith Holloway - Bass Guitar
Paul Nye - Melodeon, Harmonica
Roger Smith - Drums
Ian Woledge - Guitar

Mount Hills / 
Two very different Playford tunes, the first learned from the legends that are Pyewacket, the second from Eliza Carthy when I was lucky enough to guest with her band on tour in Ireland.

 


Mopping the Cedar 
A tune from the USAs Bob Walser, learned by Paul at one of the sessions in the Villiers Arms, Oxhey. We play a more eceilidh friendly version here with several chromatic notes (or accidentals  sums up us squeezebox players in one word!) removed. Bob is said not to be overly impressed by this wanton tune vandalism, but the result is awesome! Sorry Bob!

 


Liverpool / Rose of Liseaux 
Ive been playing Liverpool for a dogs age, it was the first tune I played on my first ever Castagnari (aah!). Ive nearly got the hang of it, too. Rose is from the magic fingers of the ever lovely Tim Van Eyken (ooh!). Thanks Tim!

 


Shed Happens / Mad Moll 
Shed happens, mostly to Paul, and although I reckon all of Random have a good case for Shed of the Year, Paul wins as he has both an amazing shed and the tune to back it up. I learned Mad Moll from the iconic Gas Mk 5 and Dan Quinn, then later with the 7 Champions. I do enjoy its cameo appearance.

 


Waiting for a Partner / Twin Sisters 
These tunes are Glynns favourites  he loves playing them and we love what he does with them. 
Waiting for a Partner was learned by most of us in sessions. Theres a bit more tune vandalism here but all in the name of fun. Actually I mean noise  big thanks to Squeezy John Spiers for the mad melodeon and to Ian for lending me his one! 
Twin Sisters is a name for several tunes, this one seems to be more commonly known as the Upton upon Severn Stick Dance tune. Quoted in Lionel Bacons A Handbook of Morris Dances from 1974  as being collected by Dr Maud Karpeles in Newfoundland (EFDSS Jour 1933, p101) but John Kirkpatrick tells me its from East Orange, Vermont, via Malon Hamilton. Thanks very much either way.

 


Unnamed Sussex Waltz / Emilys Waltz 
I learned this first tune whilst ferreting about in the Sussex Tune Book with Liza some years ago. Its one of my all time favourite tunes, which I play on my own here but love to play in duet with Liza. Or Tim. Or anyone that stands still long enough. Emilys comes from my very good friend Lord Maclaine of Bath, the ber meister of the hammered dulcimer. Its about tractors, apparently.

 


Tubeless / Cruel Wars 
Two tunes from Paul. The first he wrote. I say wrote, apparently it formed itself in his head. In a supermarket. So much so that he rushed home to play it before it went away (the way they do) and unfortunately forgot the one thing he went out for  toothpaste. The second Paul learned from Ramsbottoms Young May Moon album over 20 years ago, this tune goes by a different name in France. Paul says to watch out for cliffs, which is good advice, but I think these ones may be musical.

 


Woodland Revels / Horses Branle 
Woodland Revels is a good time tune learned from Rod Stradling and subsequently Flowers and Frolics. Its played by many, but not as many as the infamous and ancient Breton tune, The Horses Branle, from a collection called Orchesographie, (1588) by Thoinot Arbeau 
So, give these tunes the Random treatment and imagine dancing Hugh Rippons The Willow Tree to them. 
Its nice.

 


Maitińa / Flexitune 
I learned Maitińa from The Ran Tan Band and the delicious Martin Ellison. Its based on a tune played by the Galician piper Emilio Corral and features on Ran Tans superb album The Big Cheese. Flexitune is ironically named; its from our very own Paul and takes its title from the random (ha ha) and fluctuating nature of a young melody. That is until he played it to me, which is the version you hear here.

 


Captain Courageous / Ice House Schottische No.2 
Two wonderful tunes from hurdygurdy player Nigel Eaton. The first is from his album with Julie Murphy, Whirling Pope Joan, and weve paired it with Ice House, taken from Panic at the Caf, with Andy Cutting, Ian Luff and Tim Panting.

 


Saul Rose, June 2005 
Mount Hills
Sample not available
Mopping the Cedar
Sample not available
Liverpool - Rose of Liseaux
Sample not available
Shed Happens - Mad Moll
Sample not available
Waiting for a Partner - Twin Sisters
Sample not available
Unnamed Sussex Waltz / Emily’s Waltz
Sample not available
Tubeless - Cruel Wars
Sample not available
Woodland Revels - Horses Branl
Sample not available
Maitińa / Flexitune
Sample not available
Captain Courageous / Ice House Schottische No. 2
Sample not available

The Folk Mag

Paul Davis

When I was given the CD by Random to review which had the tag 'electric ceilidh music with guts', I had serious doubts about the concept of trying to bottle such a vibrant band as Random and maintain a steady interest without being bored. Why would I want a CD to which I'd really want to leap around, but which requires a live band to give atmosphere? I was certainly sceptical! However, what they have here is a good blend between various well known dance tunes, some virtuosity, and plenty of sustained interest.

Random comprise Paul Nye (melodeon& harmonica), Roger Smith (drums), Ian Woledge (guitar), Keith Holloway (bass guitar), Glynn Burch (trombone) and Saul Rose (melodeon and guitar cameo). Certainly a few well known names in the mix, and a number can often be found out with Chiltern Hundreds so they know how to drive a beat.

The CD starts off with Mount Hills followed by Stingo and there's lots of notes in there as Eric Morecambe once said, track 2 Mopping the Cedar seemed to drag towards the end and perhaps would have been a case of more is less.  Track 3 had a discordant harmonica appearing realistically like a train, while Waiting for a partner/ Twin sisters is one for fans of raspberry blowing trombonists. I heard the second tune and the worm in my head kept nagging me until I worked out it was the Upton upon Severn stick dance - but not quite as you know it. A really great ceilidh rhthym.

Tracks 6 and 7 showed off the virtuosity of Saul Rose and Paul Nye doing solo pieces - on Paul's I thought �what a lot of notes� - I enjoyed Cruel Wars more than Tubeless and it really lifted off and made sense when the rest of the band kicked in. With that backing, all the twiddly bits came into their own and made sense.

Woodland Revels is very Flowers and Frolics influenced and suggested for Willow Tree which would be a great combination. Horses Branle is a well known trad tune which I've always thought of as being Belgium/French (maybe the title) but Random seem to take it away somewhere closer to Turkey and include a drum and trombone break.

The CD finishes off with a couple of Nigel Eaton tunes which would be great for soothing listening in a traffic jam. Then the CD kept going, and a bonus track kicked in after about 4 more minutes. I'm not sure if that was intended, but on my PC it shows the last track as being 13:34 long.in comparison to the 5:37 quoted on the cover.

Overall, a very well balanced CD which gives plenty of happy listening, background music, leaping around, and generally one to lift you up. I'm a convert.

 

Bonnygreen website

Tim Heather

Of course it has been said that the easiest way to judge the danceability of a ceilidh band is to go their ceilidh. Making a CD of ceilidh tunes can be a disappointment to the lounge listener who may expect the adrenaline rushes associated with a good ceilidh. Random have easily pulled it off, and their latest CD is not only a compelling advert which will have you jotting the next Random ceilidh in your diary, but stands on its own as a very listenable album which will have you bouncing around the confines of your home. Random conjures images of chaos and energy, but from a musical viewpoint,

one thing this band is not is chaotic. The seamless split-second timing, perfectly balanced textures and transient arrangements make for an overall sound which is both dynamic and sensitive.  The six musicians that make the band are Paul Nye on melodeon and harmonica, Roger Smith on drums, Saul Rose on melodeon and guitar cameo, Glen Burch on trombone, Keith Holloway on bass and Ian Woledge on guitar. As Random, they combine a heady mix of influences, drawing on folk tunes from Canada and America to France, Spain and the Celtic nations, and alluding to such giants in the folk world as Eliza Carthy, Tim Van Eyken and Andy Cutting, to create a sound that is both diverse and reassuringly English! I am especially impressed with track 2 and the way the music seems to grow out of the ground, reaching skyward but held down by the steady and dominant bass and drums. The echo effect on the melodeon suggest a particular musical genius. This is my favourite track, but the tracks are so varied in arrangement and style that I think each listener would have their own favourite; each track is as impressive as the next, and this demonstrates the bands ability to, one minute lift you up in twirls and spasms of dance and the next immerse your world with the plaintive strains of a gentle waltz.

It is refreshing to hear such electric ceilidh music with guts gracing the stage of the ceilidh world. We eagerly await more!

Dai Woosnam

Dai Woosnam

Random are: Saul Rose, Melodeons; Glynn Burch, Trombone; Keith Holloway, Bass Guitar; Paul Nye, Melodeon & Harmonica; Roger Smith, Drums; and Ian Woledge, Guitar.

They are very much a ceilidh band, and on the strength of this CD, vocals are to them what sponsor advertising is to the Barcelona football jersey.

 

They clearly want nothing to get in the way of their music: music which they attack with the appetite of a monk who has just escaped from ten years' hard Gregorian chanting!

They are led by melodeon virtuoso Saul Rose, and have produced 55 minutes of uncompromising dance music. I nearly said �English� dance music, but truth to tell, the album is fairly eclectic stuff, drawing as it does from Vermont and Galicia!

It kicks off with �Mount Hills /�Stingo�. These are quintessentially English. Both John Playford tunes (albeit if very different from each other). The band exude bonhomie, and such is the infectious quality of both playing and music that they make even �two left feet both in the same shoe� me, feel that I want to express myself in dance.

But it is with track 5 that the album really peaked for me. �Waiting For A Partner� and �Twin Sisters� are trombonist Glynn Burch's favourites, and not for nothing!   His jaunty playing is a positive delight, and made me grin like I'd lost my mind. (I'm still grinning even now, as I think of it.)

And the album also ends delightfully with �Captain Courageous�/�Ice House Schottische No. 2�. These are both wonderful tunes from hurdygurdy player Nigel Eaton. (Now there's a thought! Full sound though the band has, would it not be great if Nigel could bring his instrument to the Random table! That would be some group then.)

But musing aside, let me return to the 2 tracks of Nigel's. Suffice to say that they do what closing tracks should always do: they leave you wanting more.


EDS

Sue Swift

Random are a dynamic, vibrant ceilidh band � sample them here for a mixture of familiar and new tunes � all given added zest and a very danceable bounce by six musicians � two melodeons, two guitars, trombone and drums.

Experimental and interesting arrangements appear on a number of tracks, including 'Mopping the Cedar', enhancing the fun aspect and enjoyable rhythms of the music.  I liked the harmonising echoes produced with the interplay of melodeons as on the Playford tunes 'Mount Hills/Stingo' and 'Captain Courageous/Ice House Schottische No. 2' and the lingering tones of Paul Nye's tunes, particularly 'Shed Happens' and 'Cruel Wars'.

The band has a good cohesive sound with excellent supportive rhythm and bass yet somehow the sound produced by Saul Rose is quire distinct and extra special � his technique and mastery of the melodeon is stunning.   It's all to do with the manner in which the notes appear � tumbling, bouncing, falling, being teased or squeezed out of the instrument, even if the note only seems to last for a millisecond among a hundred others.   Saul's solo performance of the unnamed 'Sussex Polka/Emily's Waltz' is simply beautiful with deep and emotional harmonies.   I would welcome a future opportunity to hear a solo CD with handpicked guests to take his music to new levels.

The CD notes are excellent although the authorship by Saul rather than Random is a little confusing.   The website adds a little about the band and a contact for more information � www.randomband-agency.com.    There are 10 tracks with another track later � well worth the wait.



Living Tradition

Danny Saunders

`Oh dear, not another recording that doesnt know what it really wants to be? These were my first thoughts when I read the subtitle of this CD ? electric ceilidh music with guts. It sounds a bit like Punk Folk or something. However, on playing it for the first time it immediately proved the old adage that you should never judge a CD by its cover. Toadstone is one of the most enjoyable ceilidh band CDs I have heard for some time. The band do indeed breathe life into the music and produce a robust but controlled sound ?they definitely know what they want. The musicians very skillfully maintain the integrity of the music without making it irrelevant to todays listener and/or dancer.

Their repertoire is the now fairly familiar mixture of traditional and original compositions with some nice unusual tunes. As I have said, the playing is strong and well integrated with excellent arrangements. Paul Nye (Melodeon and Harmonica), Roger Smith (Drums), Saul Rose (Melodeon), Glynn Burch (Trombone), Ian Woledge (Guitar) and Keith Holloway (Bass Guitar) ?the members of Random are a talented group of musicians to be sure.

This is functional music, and probably best enjoyed live at a dance. However, if like me you dont really dance, dont let it stop you putting Toadstone on your CD player at home and enjoying this fine music ? it will soon have your toes tapping.

Another well produced and very entertaining release from Wild Goose.


Mardles

Mike Everett

This C D is unashamedly an album of dance music or, as the sleeve describes it, electric ceilidh music with guts. Those of you who have been to a Random ccilidh will already know how good they are. For those who havent, this CD is as good as it gets without being there. Most of the tracks are traditional time sets, interspersed with some that have been written by well known contemporary tunesmiths, such as Tim Van Eyken and band member Paul Nye. Saul Roses sleeve notes make jolly reading which matches the feeling that the music provides. Apart from being really good music to dance to, its also really good driving music on the car CD player. A particular favourite is track 5 featuring the two traditional tunes, Waiting for a Partner and Twin Sisters (better known as the Upton on Severn Stick Dance). These are also the favourites of Glynn Burch, the bands trombone player. Like all the tracks, the emphasis is on fun.

Listen, enjoy and try to stop your feet tapping!

Shreds and Patches

Neil Gledhill

Random are a 6 piece ceilidh band comprising Glynn Burch (Trombone), Keith Holloway (Bass Guitar), Paul Nye (Melodeon & Harmonica), Saul Rose (Melodeon), Roger Smith (Drums) and Ian Woledge (Guitar). I must admit, a very talented group of musicians.

Well, what a great collection of tunes, ranging from the pairing of Playfords later Mount Hills with Stingo and Ran Tans Maitinya to Paul Nyes great Flexitune. My only caveat with this CD is that although Random is Saul Roses band, he is far too loud in the mixes. All other musicians are straining to be heard over Sauls uniform, smooth, Castignari sound. With a backing band like this, where have the dynamics gone?

Having said all that, I believe the only way to judge this band is to hear them live. Go listen, dear readers, and let me know what you reckon.

Sing Out

KR

While the likes of Eliza Carthy, Kate  Rusby, Jim Moray, Spiers and Boden, and the rest of the English folk scenes sparkly next generation are grabbing a lot of publicity and attention, steadily pottering away in the background is a slew of bands playing for barn dances or ceilidhs. On almost any evening somewhere in England revelers can be found jumping and hopping to the jolly sounds of accordion, melodeon and fiddle. While some of these dance bands survive happily just playing for live dancers, others want to see how theyd do in a recording studio.

Led by Saul Rose (melodeon), who has played with Eliza Carthy, the sextet Ran dom falls slightly on the progressive side of the English dance band continuum. Theyve got a double melodeon front line which handles all of the melody playing, electric guitar, electric bass guitar and drums. The trombone plays harmony parts with the bass or melodeons, or plays its own bass phrases. No fiddle!! But other than that, nothing particularly unusual.

Anyone familiar with the likes of Ashley Hutchings Albion Dance Band and Morris On recordings will recognize the basic sound.

Most of the tunes on Toadstone are traditional, but there are several compositions by co?melodeonist Paul Nye. These arent very different from the traditional pieces. The only piece that is a bit radical is the two?tune medley Captain Courageous/Ice House Schottische No. ?. Those pieces were written by Blowzabellas hurdy gurdy master Nigel Eaton and have more complicated melody lines. And the band gives that medley a slightly more modern rhythm groove. The only other surprise here is Horses Branle, a 16th century Breton tune which was first popularized in England by The Albion Dance Band.

Taplas

Mike Greenwood

Wild Goose WGS328CD (56m) RANDOMS 2002 debut, Deviation, came over as rather a rushed and unco?ordinated effort (It did, for me, suffer the misfortune of arriving alongside the wonderful Twm Twp debut). So Im happy to report that several leaps and the odd bound separate that first Random outing from this far more considered and satisfying opus. For a start, the trombonist and electric bass player have reached some sort of agreement as to not getting in each others way and the two melodeons have also developed a very empathic existence. The one will sometimes provide a tonal backing for the other, before both collaborate to spit fireworks between them.

You also get the impression that this six?piece electric ceilidh band has spent quality time getting comfortable with the latest material and they display a justified confidence in working in and around a well?chosen variety of melodies. Following in the wake of Peeping Tom and newer electric dance bands, Random holds no refuge for a fiddle, but the melodeons accidental notes are put to good use in the pursuit of every modal possibility. This musical direction is liberally exercised on Waiting for a Partner, and is even manifest on the already modally ambiguous Horses Branle

Unicorn

Theo

Yet another excellently produced CD from Doug and Sue Baileys Wildgoose Studios, Toadstone is the second CD collection of wild ceilidh tunes from local band Random. Those of you who have had the priviledge of dancing to them will know that they are one of the best dance bands around.

Whether this is so evident on this CD Im not so sure, the music sometimes feeling leaden and lifeless, the lead melodeon dominating, and the rhythm sometimes lacking the energy and drive that a band would, in turn, derive from performing in front of an lively audience.

Theres an excellent collection of tunes her, however, from both within the tradition and from writers as diverse as American Bob Walser and hurdy gurdy player Nigel Eaton. Theres a couple too from one of the bands melodeon players Paul Nye (the other being Saul Rose).

Adding to the big sound are Roger Smith on drums, Ian Woledge on guitar, Keith Holloway on bass and Glynn Burch on trombone.

A good collection of tunes from this terrific band, but I think theyre much better heard in their native environment, the dance hall.