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David Kidman of Net Rythms

reviews no use in cryin' by Rattle on the Stovepipe

The stovepipe is well and truly rattled here by this versatile and spiritful trio comprising Dave Arthur (guitar, banjo, vocals) and his compadres Pete Cooper (fiddle and vocal) and Dan Stewart (banjo and guitar), the latter having now taken the place that guitarist Chris Moreton filled on the previous ROTS CD Eight More Miles.

Like its predecessor, No Use In Cryin’ proudly presents a wide-ranging collection of tunes and songs that through history have crossed back and forth, here given appealingly and refreshingly in versions from either or both sides of the pond. In healthy juxtaposition, we encounter fiddle tunes from Kentucky, West Virginia and Seattle nestling companionably under the same roof as that good ol’ O’Carolan morris tune Princess Royal and a fun medley that bestows a “transatlantic melodic overlap” on D’Ye Ken John Peel, all played in the easily-expert, deft-yet-passionate manner of the genuine old-time enthusiast eager to share his discovery of a good rousing tune.

The instrumental items on the disc (six out of the 14 tracks) are neatly balanced by a satisfyingly varied complement of songs that includes country/jugband standard Red Apple Juice, ballads both broadside and Child in origin (Willie Moore and The Two Brothers respectively), and an unusually upbeat, genially swinging treatment of the shanty-crew classic Roll Alabama Roll. There’s also a couple of items of more recent provenance: the Carter Family’s mid-30s classic You’ve Been A Friend and Dick Connette’s affectionate tribute to North Carolina singer Dillard Chandler (which, interestingly, Dave acquired from a Roy Bailey recording).

As on Eight More Miles, Dave and Pete each take roughly equal turns with the singing, and both (albeit in contrasted vocal styles) invariably prove themselves well up to the task of authentically and enthusiastically conveying the essence of the texts without any sense of contrivance. The winning formula of the earlier disc is reprised with the approach taken to the provision of the liner notes, for once again these are both succinct and splendidly informative.

This disc possesses a winning combination of erudition and informality in its delightful music-making; in doing so, it proves a real treat for lovers of that fertile territory where old-time traditions from both sides of the Atlantic collide.