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Paul Burgess of Shreds and Patches

reviews 8 More Miles by Rattle on the Stovepipe

Iím always wary of people who play the folk music of countries other than their own ﷓especially US music. Whatís wrong with their own stuff? What about the vocals: do you sing them in your normal accent or try an ďauthenticĒ American dialect? Itís a rocky road, on which many have come to grief. No such problems here though ﷓ the unaccented English of the vocals serves to highlight the connections between the American, English and Irish material presented.


All three band members are master instrumentalists and play some rousing tunes: I have described Pete Cooper elsewhere as ďa bit of a chameleonĒ and he continues this here, sounding as stylish and authentic an old﷓time
fiddler as you could wish for, then swapping to another persona and doing exactly the same for English fiddle. Chris Morton is one of these Islandís finest flat﷓pick guitarists and is also an excellent accompanist. Dave Arthur plays guitar and banjo and takes the lionís share of the lead vocals. His vocal style is unusual ﷓ he is a very percussive singer,
hitting the beginning of notes very hard and then letting the tone taper away; couple with this is his penchant for - sprechtstimme﷓ a sort of pitched/unpitched speaking of some of the lyrics and you get a performance which ought not to work, but in fact is just what is needed and really spruces up the songs ﷓ although the longer Willieís Ghost stretches this a little. The others chip in for vocals as well ﷓ Chris Morton sings the sentimental Footmarks In The Snow straight Ė no overacting ﷓ and it works perfectly. And then there are the booklet notes: 12 pages of fascinating information about the history of the tunes written with Dave Arthurís customary light touch ﷓ brilliant! Shirley Collins describes this album as ďA Perfect PleasureĒ: Hear! hear!