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reviews The Long Road by Mick Ryan & Pete Harris

This is the fifth album from Mick and Pete and what a delight yet again. From the pun ridden Holmes and Watson and the throw away Desperate Dan to the poignant and moving yet never over?sentimental Song For John and the superbly arranged traditional song The Crafty Maids Policy we have the essence and range of this duos repertoire.

As might be expected there are a number of Micks own songs as well as a good smattering of traditional material arranged and, in some cases, extensively revised by Mick and Pete.

Add superb instrumentation from Petes wide acoustic range of implements as well as guests Steven Faux on fiddle and Paul Sartin (almost a resident at Wild Goose these days) on oboe and you have an almost perfect range of accompaniment to Micks firm voice.

Petes inventive harmonies on most of the songs serve only to enhance them even further. All the songs have a sort of inherent link with `the road hence the title of this album.

I particularly liked the opening track The Road to Dorchester an up tempo song with strong social comment taken from the folk musical `A Tolpuddle Man.

The unaccompanied Poppies sounds very Keith Marsden in style but was written by Mick.

Modern technology came to the aid of Mick for the original words to Time To Remember The Poor which he obtained from the internet. Paul Sartins oboe on this track is especially apt.

One song which does stand out from the rest both in terms of its origins and its style is Strange Fruit originally made famous by Billie Holliday and sung solo unaccompanied by Mick with a genuine depth of feeling.

Mick and Pete finish in fine style with The Wrong Side of the World another song from `A Tolpuddle Man which might well appear in my own repertoire eventually as yet another funky number! Ill let your imaginations run on that one!