Tony Hendry of The Living Tradition
reviews Mischief Afoot by Mischief AfootThis is a pleasing debut album from a Cotswold-based trio of Becky Dellow (fiddle), John Davis (recorder, bodhran) and Jeff Gillett (vocals, guitar and mandola). These experienced musicians deliver a confident set of mainly traditional songs and tunes from England, Ireland and North America.
Their playing can be sprightly, as in the recorder-led Cats Of Camazen / Pressed For Time, or stately, as in Tell Her I Am / Out On The Ocean, from the playing of Martin Hayes. Familiar session tunes like Morgan Rattler, The Star Of Munster and Pigeon On The Gate are given a twist. Becky provides three fine tunes of her own in Lost In Washing, Oddpiece Jig, and the reflective Ruskin Mill. Good listening, but I think that more variation in the instrumentation, e.g. flute as well as recorder, would have made it better.
Jeff sings five nicely arranged songs. You may remember The Deserter, also known as Ratcliffe Highway, from Fairport Convention’s version on Liege And Lief: The Golden Willow Tree (an American variant of The Golden Vanity) is given a playful accompaniment. He learned it in his time as a duo with Sarah Morgan. Blow The Candles Out is a night-visiting song in which the muddiness of the streets is put forward as a reason to be allowed to stay the night. Good tip for Lotharios!
The album is well produced, as you would expect from Wild Goose. It should do much to raise the trio’s profile.