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Colin Andrews of Whats Afoot

reviews Four Across by English Rebellion

Of all the crop of good albums I received for review in this issue, Four Across is undoubtedly my favourite.
But I would not have expected the music from a group made up of Nick & Mary Barber, Mary Humphreys and Anahata to be anything less than inspirational.

At Sidmouth, when they are not running big band workshops, Nick and Mary can often be found playing french horn, melodeon and fiddle at the Radway English music sessions. Mary and Anahata, with banjo, English concertina, melodeon, cello & anglo, are popular at folk clubs and festivals across the country for sympathetic performance of traditional song and music. The CD gets off to a cracking, foot-tapping start with Merrry Month and Squirrel in a Tree, two jigs which sound traditional even if the first one, at least, is a recent composition.The brass really adds bounce to this, and many other tracks, not just with rhythm but taking the tune and counter melodies.

Although the album includes several modern tunes, it has very much a traditional Englishness about it, even the delightful instrumental Will You Patch My Pants For Me (my favourite track!) which is Swedish tune acquired by way of the U.S.A. Mary Humphreys sings Gypsy’s Wedding and Bonny Bunch of Roses-O but with the band accompanying in full swing, you could easily dance to these tracks too !

Marvellous !