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Mike Blair of Shire Folk

reviews Old Virginia by Rattle on the Stovepipe

Dave Arthur is well known to old folkies (or should that be fogeys?) like me, as one half of Dave and Toni Arthur. He has now teamed up with excellent fiddler Pete Cooper and banjo frailer Dan Stewart to form Rattle on the Stovepipe which also happens to be one of the songs on their latest collection.

Dave has always loved American folk music from Virginia and the Carolinas, which shines through on this relaxed, and relaxing, album of fourteen tunes and songs. Most people would recognise the dance tune 'Chinquapin Hunting' (if not the title) and other foot tappers include 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' and 'Santa Anna's Retreat: The sleeve notes are wonderful for anyone wishing to play along or learn the tunes, with very interesting background information, as well as banjo and guitar tunings.

Songs include 'Duncan and Brady' about the 1894 shooting of a police officer in a St Louis Saloon Bar with some great mandolin by Pete; 'Sandy Boys; about a night time hobgoblin called the bugaboo; and a self penned story by Dave himself, based on Angeline the Baker, a well known banjo tune. On a couple of the slower songs, including the title song 'Old Virginia; Pete tunes his violin to DDAD, almost dulcimer tuning, to very good effect.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, and thanks to the tunings, may well plagiarise one or two in my best schoolboy clawhammer!