Maggie Aloore of Mardles
reviews One Man Hand by Tony HallTony Hall has been a melodeon player for many more years than probably most people can imagine being one, and is as inventive and innovative and gentle (as well as slightly rude) as ever!
His playing allows the music to glide through the air, your mind and your soul as easily and beautifully as anything I've ever heard on the 2 row Hohner. The first track sets the scene for the more ethereal side of this CD, with a rendition of the Abbott's Bromley Horn Dance, and for those amongst us who hanker after being able to do something a bit more than an "umpah" Bass, this is an excellent one to aspire to. As Tony points out, his first song track Down On the Hard is not what you might think if you tend to be quick to spot a "Double Entendre". It actually refers to a cobbled or concrete area where boats are hauled up. Once again, if you arc wanting an example of how to use a melodeon to accompany your own singing, this is a truly lovely example : sensitive, rhythmical. and never over powering the voice.
Throughout the CD, Tony has managed great variety, not only by using a good mixture of different songs and tunes, but also by alternating the use of both of his two row Hohner melodeons (D/G and C/F). The variation that this has produced has meant that the keys used for his songs and tunes range from A Minor to F to A Major, E Minor, C, and even B Minor!!! He even plays a few in good old D and G for good measure. The Minneola Rag, which he plays in F, really does have to be heard to be believed. It's a real treasure. Tony's sleeve notes say (the proper third part was too difficult for me so I bluffed it!") All I can say is that it's jolly good bluffing!
Anyone who's caught one of Tony's performances in the last couple of years will probably have heard his song Binder Twyne and I'm sure will be glad to see this on the CD. It's typically East Anglian, and a very lovely portrait of a country character who makes toys for children out of the orange and blue nylon string that litters our countryside from time to time where it's been cut off whatever it was fastening. Quite deep Tony! If one tune stands out for me to learn, it has to be The Beccles Stomp, which is an inspired composition by Tony, getting an effortless sounding (sure it won't be when I try it!) New Orleans style blues effect. Marvellous!
It's no good ? I could rate every track but it would take the whole magazine : just buy the CD! Don't miss the chance to hear Bless Your Beautiful Hide and also a beautiful waltz by one of my favourite box players – Bob McQuillen, called. Annie's Waltz.