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Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest

reviews no use in cryin' by Rattle on the Stovepipe

What a refreshing change from the many Wild Goose CDs I’ve reviewed based on the English tradition. This is real ‘old time folksie’ American traditional music and song superbly played by three well respected and experienced performers who make up ‘Rattle on the Stovepipe’; they are Dave Arthur (voice, banjo, guitar and melodeon), Pete Cooper (voice, fiddle and viola) and Dan Stewart (guitar, banjo).

If you’ll pardon the pun, they really do rattle along with both tunes and songs in an easy and confident lilting style that captures the essence of this type of folk music.

It’s difficult to pick out particular tracks on an album such as this because the standard is so high on all of them but of the tunes ‘Ways of the World’ caught my ear because of the ‘fiddlesticks’ method of playing (the player hits the open strings with a stick) and I particularly liked their performances of the well known ‘Princess Royal’ and the equally familiar ‘Sally in the Garden’.

Of the songs ‘Damned Old Piney Mountains’ stood out for me as did their version of ‘Short Jacket and White Trousers’ to which Dave has written a very apt new tune. The poignant and sad ‘Red Apple Juice’ one of the slower songs nicely sung in a laid back style by Dave contrasts very well with the more up tempo material.

When I first read the track list I was totally intrigued as to what they would do with ‘Roll Alabama Roll’ especially as it was obviously with full instrumental accompaniment and I tend to be a bit of a purist when it comes to singing shanties! I needn’t have worried, of course, because their lilting arrangement fits the song perfectly and, after all, this is one shanty that does actually tell a story which is often lost in the usual full blooded testosterone filled brast of the original work song.

As with the vast majority of Wild Goose albums there are useful sleeve notes on all of the songs and tunes together with some delightful old photographs (no I don’t mean the one’s of ‘old’ Dave and Pete!) from American sources.

If you like Appalachian style music then this is a definite buy for you and even if not I can without reservation encourage you to add to your CD collection - you won’t be disappointed.