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Sarah McQuaid of Hotpress

reviews West Country Night Out by Tom & Barbara Brown

Descended from musical families on both sides, Tom and Barbara Brown met at Mayday in Padstow, Cornwall, and now make their home in North Devon, where theyve developed several multimedia shows based around the music, history and folklore of Englands West Country. Their new 21-track CD incorporates selections from three earlier albums alongside nine previously unreleased tracks to build up a musical portrait of this regions fertile folk tradition.

Alternating lead and backing vocal duties, the pair are both blessed with deep, powerful voices whose timbres are similar enough to generate the kind of rich, luxuriant harmony one associates more commonly with all-male ensembles. Brown is also an impressive instrumentalist, ably contributing on octave mandola, concertina, melodeon and more; his finger-picked guitar accompaniment on The Watchet Sailor is particularly tasty.

A host of guests help to vary the instrumental arrangements and add their voices to the gorgeously full multi-part choruses of grand old songs like Egloshayle Ringers, Pleasant And Delightful and Wives Of St. Ives.