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Phil Headford of Shreds and Patches

reviews Drop the Reed by Belshazzar's Feast

In a CD of 11 generous tracks, Paul Sartin and Paul Hutchinsort give an object lesson to all recording artists on the standard of technique and artistry required to migrate from dance?band playing to concert performance. I dont say there are no bouncy, danceable tunes here ?there are many ? but this is going to be the kind of album you will want to play when you need cheering up, or when you want to relax. (If you want to dance to Paul & Pauls music, track down their 5?piece, Bazzas Dog.)

Half Hannikin must be four centuries old, but comes across as fresh as daisy, and Paul Ss fiddle is, as on all tracks, clear and confident, and its companion on track three The Recruiting Officer has him demonstrating the same virtues on oboe. Paul Hs supportive and sensitive accordion work is a model for all. who may labour under the illusion that accompaniment is a poor relation of solo work.

Thats not even my favourite track! Paul H chooses his instruments and stop settings carefully throughout, and Paul S makes unerring judgement on choice of instrument or voice. Some folky purists may be inclined at first hearing to dismiss Paul Ss vocal style, but the sheer quality serves to remind me what high standards are required to work daily with the Cathedral choir of Christ Church, Oxford.

The cover design is good, the notes are informative and the photos are clear. The selection of tunes and styles is catholic given limits of Western Europe, folk or classical or homemade some time in the last five or so centuries.

I can assure those of you with a wide taste in music, but a tight discernment of quality that the acquisition of this CD will never be regretted.