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Derek Gifford of Folk North West

reviews Sliptease by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Vicki and Jonny were members of the group Serious Kitchen and have a previous album which was mainly tunes. Vicki plays double bass, Scottish smallpipes and flute while Jonny plays guitar and accordion on this CD. They are both very accomplished musicians as their last album showed but they also show their worth as singers here with tight, close harmonies, clear diction and subtle tonality.
Their treatment of the traditional songs on the album, all of which are fairly well known, is refreshing and the arrangements well thought out. I particularly liked their unusual version of Lovely Joan. Unfortunately I didnt like The Two Magicians because, having heard it sung unaccompanied by so many good singers, the up tempo guitar work (though it is extremely well played!) in this rendition doesnt do it for me.
Conversely, the similar treatment given to Young Hunting does work although the definitive version of this song for me will always be the one from the late Tony Rose whom they acknowledge as a source. This, the last track on the album, takes a full 8 minutes to tell the gory story in full but doesnt pall in the treatment of it.
As for the tunes, they are all very easy to listen to and are as varied in style and tempo as are the instruments used. I think I liked The Cribbage Set the most but Tystnaden (which is Swedish for the silence) is a very restful tune too reflecting Vickis Scandinavian family connections.
As is usual with a WildGoose production the sleeve notes are erudite and concise and the cover is very imaginative too - I dont usually mention cover inserts unless theyre particularly awful, but this one I like.. must be something to do with the basque.. now theres one reason to buy this CD !!!