Dai Woosnam of Dai Woosnam
reviews Beer and Black Pudding by Dave Bordewey & Dave YoungLet me start by saying that I am a man who once bought an Anglo concertina, and sold it again within a year. Even though I loved the sound it made, I had to face up to the fact that clearly I was not suited to the instrument.
Learning was too much of a hard slog for me.
I tell you all this to show you my non-credentials when it comes to writing knowledgeably about an album that is largely instrumental squeeze-box music. Many reviewers will be able to write a very technical review that gets down to the real nitty gritty.
But, “whoa!”, wait a minute. The two Daves want to sell this album beyond the diaspora of reed instrument fans, so maybe it is EXACTLY reviewers like me that they want. And that apart, one does not have to be a master carpenter to know that the table wobbles.
Or DOESN’T wobble in this case.
For this is a pleasing and very solid album from two musicians who have paid their dues and learned their trade. Three of the twelve tracks have vocal contributions from Dave Bordewey: I would have preferred a couple more such tracks, so pleasing is his voice.
One of those aforementioned vocals is very nearly the highlight of the CD: their version of “Just As The Tide Was Flowing” is up there with the Dransfields’ version of blessed memory. Both musicians weave into each others’ musical lines with effortless ease here.
I said though that it was NEARLY the highlight. “Nearly”, but not quite.
You see, the truth is that the stand-out track (just to risk contradicting myself!) is an instrumental. It’s that wonderful old morris tune, “Princess Royal”, which they give us two versions of here.
If I am to be honest though, I have to say that it cast a bit of a shadow over some of the instrumental choices that had come before. Oh for sure, ALL were very skilfully played, but some were intrinsically a little “found wanting” when it came to melody. (Well, when compared to a great tune like Princess Royal I mean.)
And they play that Oxfordshire gem with real verve. And it brought the best of ends to the album: it left us wanting more.