Fred McCormick of EDS
reviews Old Virginia by Rattle on the StovepipeDeep down inside me, there's a chunk of prejudice which says that musicians from this side of the Atlantic shouldn't go messing with the music of Americana. The reasons for such a notion are buried in the roots of the folk revival and needn't be discussed here. However, this CD represents all the evidence you could ever need to refute it.
Rattle on the Stovepipe are not just three master musicians. In my humble opinion, their combined talents are the equal of anything that our cousins on the far side of the Atlantic might muster. What's more, they treat their material with the kind of integrity and honesty which it undoubtedly deserves.
This, their fourth WildGoose CD, ploughs a well chosen furrow of songs and instrumentals, many of which will be familiar to old timey buffs. Those which will prove less so include 'Young and Venturesome' a self composed song from band member, Dave Arthur, about Englishmen joining the American military; an instrumental called 'Santa Anna's Retreat', and perhaps the gem of the whole record, 'Bill Dalton's Wife'. This latter was amplified by Dave Arthur from a Don West poem, and given a tune which, I can only say, fits the words like a glove. Incidentally, if you're into bizarre titles, you won't do much better than 'Shove the Pig's Foot a Little Further into the Fire'.
The booklet notes are a delight to read, being well written and informative without ever sliding into the pitfalls of pedantry or irrelevance.
I suspect that some old timey fans may find this disc a little too laid back. All I can say is, try playing it on a hot July night, as I did, with all the windows open, the fan going, and a cooling drop of whatever you fancy. It's magic.