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FLOWERS & FROLICKS with Bob Davenport & Peta Webb
"Reformed Characters" HEBE CD002
Nostalgia ain't what it used to be - at least not for Flowers and Frolics who, rather than reissue their 1977 classic 'Bees On Horseback', have instead, decided to re-record it. This means that we have the benefit of a first-class recording and production, but has also allowed the band to come up with some improvements. Graeme Smith, one of their leading lights from the early days, had returned home to Oz before 'Bees' was made. Now he is able to sing the rollicking 'McCarty' and play on the Australian tune sets which he introduced. I just wish there had been space for one of his monologues that were such a feature then.

The tune sets are interlaced with more songs than the original contained. Mike Bettison shows just how good he is on London material with his version of 'Wotcher' and a wonderful song by Tom Robinson 'Martin' - I would have liked to have seen his classic 'Ratcliffe Highway' here as well. Other than that, Peta Webb beautifully revisits 'Two Little Girls in Blue', Bob Davenport updates 'Mickey Mouse', and just about gets through a new addition, 'Sunny Afternoon' whilst the two of them duet on the standard 'After You've Gone'. Most of the original tune sets are also here, plus a few extra.

The band itself is driven by Dan Quinn's melodeon and underpinned by Alex West's tuba whilst the other members produced that danceable yet relaxed, easy-going fullness of sound that made Flowers such a huge number of fans and friends at dance and festival alike. Let's hope that the response to this is a goodly number of performances and another album!

Paul Burgess

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