Baz Parkes of Shreds & Patches
reviews All in a Garden Green by The Askew SistersSome issues ago I was fortunate enough to review Emily and Hazel's Six By Two, what we might have called a "sampler" back in the old days, and remember writing that I eagerly anticipated more. Here it is. All in a Garden Green is the duo's first full-length album. So what's happened over the last twelve months? The interplay between fiddle and melodeon seems more assured, and there's an added drive to the playing. Dorrington lads, Blenheim House/Malt Has Come Down and The Unfortunate Tailor/Shaalds of Foula all demonstrate this well. Any recording of fiddle and melodeons working together will invite comparison to the mighty Spiers and Boden these days, and the Askew sisters can certainly stand that comparison.
So much for the tune side, what of the vocals? One of the delights of the songs on Six by Two was a certain "edge" to the songs which seems to have disappeared here. There's a smoothness to Hazel's vocals which, almost veers to the mannered in places, at least to these ears. The arrangements, however, are wonderful, particularly The Old Virginia lowlands and The Lover's Ghost. There's nothing amiss with the singing, you understand, it's just that I preferred the sound on the first recording. And if you let the CD run on after the 13
tracks listed on the booklet, you'll be treated to a version of The Dunstan Lullaby that restored my faith