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422 "One" Fellside FECD153

I'd heard a lot about this band without having seen or listened to them... but the word was out that they were something special. So when their album "ONE" slipped into the pile I was definitely interested. 422 are made up of 5 extremely young and talented musicians whose ages total less than 100 but have nearly half a century's experience playing music. Hard to believe but true!!!!!! You read their publicity and what they have achieved, individually and collectively is quite outstanding.

They formed as a result of meeting at a Folkworks Summer school 4 years ago, won the 1999 BBC Young Folk Award and play a mixture of Northumbrian, French Canadian, Scandanavian and Irish music. But the big question is - are they any good? On the strength of this CD I would say definitely "YES". Carrying on the current trend of writing their own music and mixing in traditional tunes this, their first offering, certainly gets the "thumbs up".

Right from the start there's a feeling that 422 can play a bit, especially on one of my favourite tunes at the moment "Homage a Edmond Parizeau" - a tune that's popular with lots of the young 'uns. Two fiddles combine effortlessly with whistles and piano accordion, helped along with some pretty good guitar, to make a sound which flows from one track to another.

For me there are two stand out tracks. Firstly, the absolutely beautiful "A Special Day", a tune written one day, e-mailed to an internet magazine that night, and broadcast the next day. It starts with accordion before giving way to guitar, the two then interweaving and finally being joined by the whistle. Secondly, there is the slow air "The Curlew". This track "just happened" - if this is true then what a future they've got.

A word about the production job - it's a pity that all albums are not as sympathetically handled as this one. It was done "live" allowing the spark to come through. Richard and Paul Adams have done a grand job. All in all a promising debut. The members of 422 - Emily and Sophy Ball, Joey Oliver, Sam Pirt and Ian Stephenson - can be proud of this.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 41 of The Living Tradition magazine.