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BOB FOX & STU LUCKLEY - "Box of Gold" - Fellside FECD124

The modern trend seems to be - form a band, record a CD and then start looking for some bookings, ideally starting off aiming at major festivals and then working down from there. The story behind this album couldn't be more different - years of experience in the folk clubs before releasing an LP which was widely voted as Folk Album of the Year 1978, a second album four years later then a break of almost twenty years with various re-union gigs in between and finally recording most of the tracks from those two LPs all over again to mark their 20th Anniversary. Twenty odd years in the making and it shows. The whole album positively sparkles with a relaxed assuredness, inventive playing and from Bob Fox - surely one of the great voices of the whole of the folk revival - several definitive performances of some great songs.

The album is almost exactly as you would hear them live although at times you would hardly believe that this was done by just two musicians and two voices. At all times there is a dynamic pulse from the instruments, even in the slower songs, always supporting the singing which is never restricted by the music. The favourites are all there - "Sally Wheatley", "The Shores of Old Blighty", the clutch of Ewan MacColl songs - the acoustic bass work from Stu on "The Song of the Iron Road" is a masterpiece - before rounding up the album with a joyous version of "Sally Gee".

Their first two LPs became collectors items as well topping the folk polls in their day. This re-recording - not re-release - of those albums will have no problem repeating the acclaim. The original LP title said it all - "Nowt So Good'll Pass".

John Muirhead

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