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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews Mischief Afoot by Mischief Afoot

Mischief Afoot is a folk band based in the Cotswolds who comprise Becky Dellow from Gloucestershire on fiddle who has an MA in Music from Bristol University and is continuing to study for a PhD at Sheffield University researching 19th century English fiddle music, John Davis on recorder and bodhran who is originally a classical trained musician and has played with folk groups, bands, Morris sides and world music ensembles and Jeff Gillett on guitar, mandola, mandolin, English concertina and vocals who is a superlative accompanist and will probably better known for his partnership with Ron Taylor for over twenty-five years.

Therefore, such is the pedigree of these performers that one might expect quite rightly a very high standard of musicianship and performance and indeed that is exactly the case. Quality pervades this CD with a mixture of traditional tunes and songs the majority of which are not particularly well known.

For example, who's heard of the tune Bennachie Sunrise which gently opens the album or the lively Cats of Camazen and Lost in the Washing or the haunting History Man from Andy Cutting and Ruskin Mill written by Becky I wonder? There are eighteen tunes here all played with professional expertise which makes it a veritable treasury of resource material for budding musicians looking for something new and extraordinary.

Equally two of the four songs are interestingly unfamiliar, to me at least, like The Deserter learned from Chris Beaumont of Cheltenham or Jimmy and Nancy collected by Cecil Sharp in Gloucestershire both of which Jeff sings in a pleasantly understated way.

Overall this is a very pleasant and entertaining recording and deserves a place in every traditional music afficianado's collection. It's a delightfully easy to listen to piece of work.
It's available through Proper Music Distribution or from the WildGoose web site.