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Sleeve not available
JED GRIMES & STEWART HARDY "The Rocky Shore" Frantic Records FCD2201

Jed Grimes and Stewart Hardy have been together as a duo for about five years and are based in the North-East of England.

You might remember Jed - vocals and guitar - as a founder-member of the folk-rock band Hedgehog Pie, contemporaries of these other bonny lads, Lindisfarne. Remember "Fog on the Tyne" with and without Gazza?

I'm tempted to say that Hedgehog Pie were on the road a lot at that time, but I'll refrain from doing so lest any animal activists find out my address. You might like to know that each of the band's three albums made the top of the Melody Maker roots charts but - for younger readers - it was never in the same league as this magazine.

Stewart Hardy - fiddle - is classically trained but in mitigation claims a mis-spent youth among the wild pub sessions and ceilidhs of his adopted North-East. He is also an occasional member of the aforementioned Lindisfarne.

This album sees the duo plus some fine backing musicians in a mixture of instrumentals and songs. Stewart Hardy is a fine fiddler indeed and the tunes he's chosen show off his style well.

They're mainly traditional or traditional-sounding (including "Jig O' Slurs" which doesn't quite live up to its unorthodox beginning) although there's one Latin-influenced track. Incidentally there's a discrepancy between the sleeve-note and the back of the CD case; the sleeve lists the track as being called "Condor" while the case says "Chicha". There's also a track, presumably "Texas Girl At The Funeral of Her Father", which has words uncredited anywhere.

Jed Grimes' voice is not exceptional but he's comfortable with "Dark Eyed Sailor" and "Maid on the Shore". Where the album springs to life, however, is "Anyway The Wind Blows", a song written by Rod Clements. Other writers featured include Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt and the album finishes with a fine version of Rab Noakes' "What Kind of Life Is This?"

If the album is representative of what they do, I'd recommend a visit to a live performance.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.