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PEEPING TOM "Looking Back" Folk Sound FSCD49

From the Massey Ferguson Social Club to the outer limits of Peeperland, every fan will love this one.

"Looking Back" celebrates Peeping Tom's 25th anniversary with a stack of traditional tunes which have graced their repertoire. Some were recorded in the early days, but all have been re-arranged to suit the current sound of one of England's best dance bands in their pomp. This 67-minute CD is great value.

What a stonking sound it is! Ben Woodward (melodeon), Ian Wilson (allsorts), Pete Smale (snarling guitar), John McIntosh (bass) and Colin Halliwell (drums) are dangerous men anyway, but this time they've brought their mates to hit you with trumpet, trombone, strings, didgeridoo and other stuff. And in the photos they're wearing these sinister black leather jackets. Resistance is useless against this mob, so let your purist sensibilities take the beating and do as the liner notes instruct - PLAY LOUD, AND ENJOY!

And when the ceiling dust has settled, and you've taken a cold shower to restore your faculties, you might recall that there were gentler bits after all - like the acoustic "Portarlington" set of jigs, the Playford dance tune "Draper's Maggot" and the "My Home/Red Lark" waltzes. And, with a hefty serving of Scottish and Irish sets like "Drum Dalgie/ Bonny Dundee" and "Coleraine/Scattery Island", you'll know why the lads are happier with the ceilidh band description than their fellow silver jubileeists, Old Swan, would be. And they might be a mob, but they're no rabble. You couldn't ask for more invention and skill than in the dynamic build of Wilson's "Joanna's Jaunt", to take the best example.

A dance band's album can only be an echo of the live experience. As echoes go, this one's a sonic boom, but even so you might like to encounter the Peepers on their current tour which marks this happy anniversary. Your tired feet won't thank you, but your heart and soul will.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 31 of The Living Tradition magazine.