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CYTHARA "Pluckin' Hammered" KRL CDLDL1253

The late, great Peter Bellamy, in his capacity as mid-eighties editor of Whitby Folk Week newsletter, added the following post-script to a plea for hammered dulcimer players to rendezvous - "If you haven't got a dulcimer but love the sound remember you can always hold a stick against the spokes of a bicycle and give the wheel a spin". On discovering that this album consisted entirely of harp and dulcimer music, I was forced into my archives to rediscover this wickedly barbed gem. As an anoraked old folkie, what a very sad life I lead!

Cythara are the pluckin' Jenny Crook and the hammerin' Maclaine Colston, with Robin Davies' double bass saving the bottom end of the speakers from redundancy. Both principals were in their infancy when I was giggling under the bed-clothes at Bellamy's audacity, but you can only tell that from the photo - the playing herein is assured, mature and devastatingly skillful, giving no clue to the youth of the players. Just two songs, both traditional English, and especially in Maclaine's case giving me the feeling that they would rather be hammering and/or plucking, and given their talents in those directions who can blame them? The nine tunes (or tune-sets_ are the result of a wide trawl through tradition sources and new writings, including their own, which results in a far more varied album than I, Philistine that I am, was expecting.

Into each life a little jingly-jangly music must fall, so if you like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you'll REALLY like.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 25 of The Living Tradition magazine.