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STOCAI "After The Brawl ." Harbourtown Records HARCD 042

It was with slightly less than total enthusiasm that your reviewer placed this disc on the old Dansette; an album of English ceilidh dance music didn't really fill me with excitement. But I have to admit that I was wrong - gloriously wrong.

This is Stocai's second album and band members come from various parts of southern England and the Midlands. However, their range is considerably wider than Little England and you'll find European and North American influences aplenty. The band comprises Sheena Masson on English concertina, flute and bassoon; Heather Horsley on keyboards, flute and whistle; Dave Jolly on melodeon and anglo concertina; Chris Walshaw on bagpipes, flute and whistle; Kevin Adams on mandolin, mandola, guitar, fiddle and bass and Martin Hazell on percussion, and the variety of instruments allows the band to exchange moods at will and means there's never a dull moment.

Particular favourites of this reviewer are the accordion and guitar waltz Innisheer, discovered by the band on a Buttons and Bows album; Auld Donald, which is done in the manner of a Scottish Country Dance Band, and Muineira de Cabana from Galician band Milladoiro, but overall there isn't a weak track and the band's own compositions stand up well alongside the imports. Congratulations to Stocai; a lot of care and effort has gone into the choice of material on this album and the standard of playing is uniformly excellent. And if you're wondering where the name came from, it's taken from the tune title Polka Sean Stocai and more than that I cannot add! Thoroughly recommended.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 52 of The Living Tradition magazine.