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CHIPOLATA 5 "Skinless" Hoodlum HOODCD001

On the opening track of the Chipolatas introduce themselves in energetic fashion - Tristan Glover on melodeon, Sam Thomas on drums and Jasper King on vocals and percussion. For the Chipolata 5, they are joined by Barnaby Stradling on electric bass and Jock Tyldesley on fiddle. Several guests join them on this CD, notably Eliza Carthy and Iain Macleod, playing on most tracks. Together, they set a fiery pace that hardly relents throughout the album.

Their material is based upon traditional tunes and songs, propelled along by thumping bass lines and steady drums. The Chipolata 5 are certainly adventurous and modern influences are unashamedly included within their music. A tune may begin conventionally, but there will be a surprise before the end! There are changes in rhythm, unexpected instrumental breaks, rap recitals and extreme contrasts in styles.

Well, if they are irreverent about the tradition, they do not take themselves too seriously either. There are moments of good humour sprinkled within most tracks, as well as "Boa Constrictor", a comedy song of Shel Silverstein. "Two Men" is one of Taffy Thomas' tales vigorously re-enacted over a tune with an East European flavour, and followed by a welcome appearance of "Flatworld", written by Andy Cutting.

The final track, played over the melody of Bacca Pipes, is a ten minute excursion into sampled voices and distorted noises. What holds all this diversity together is their sheer enthusiasm. What makes it attractive is that they are so obviously enjoying it themselves.

Henry Peacock

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This album was reviewed in Issue 22 of The Living Tradition magazine.