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Flos Headford of Shreds and Patches

reviews Four Across by English Rebellion

This is an unalloyed delight. All the band are known to club-Boers and denizens of English music sessions. Anahata and Mary Humphries join forces with Nick and Mary Barber to form a formidable outfit.

As much as any other talents, they each also possess a wonderful ear for a cracking good tune, and this album is stuffed to creaking point with the very best. It's the only time I've been tempted to list every single track on a CD. But I owe it to those who don't know these performers (where have you been?) to give some idea of what the music is like. No surprise that it's very English - clarity of melody, plenty of bounce and careful use of harmony. Anahata plays melodeon, cello and anglo concertina, Mary Barber the fiddle, Nick plays French horn, melodeon, soprano recorder and Baritone horn, and Mary Humphries adds piano, English concertina and banjo to her inimitable vocals.

It's the quality of playing, added to the care taken in blending the varied lines and tones, which makes this stand apart from and above most other recordings we come across.

It's so nice to hear good new tunes along with the old, as well. They have paired up two of Colin Cater's best tunes, Tricky Dicky and Liberation Polka (I do hope those get taken up by session musicians), and they use some of Nick's tunes (including Harry Enfield's Waltz). Alongside this Mary H treats us to a classic rendering of Joseph Taylor's version of The Gypsy Girl. And what a wonderful idea to pair The Cream Pot with Bang UPP!

As you can probably tell by now, I'm having trouble focussing on the sheer quality of the performance and recording, because of the superb selection of material. Of course, you could simply take my word for it and go out and buy it, thus saving me from embarrassment.