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DAVE WHETSTONE "The Resolution" Monkeys Knib MKRCD41O

In our household, a little melodeon goes a long way, so I inserted this CD into the machine somewhat gingerly. My trepidation evaporated immediately, for though Mr Whetstone takes full composing and arranging credit, this is a light-year away from the kind of solo squeezebox overkill that puts melodeons at the top of hate-lists throughout the folk-scene. All too often words like "stylish", "tasteful" and "restrained" make strange bedlellows with words like "English Dance Music" and "Hohner one row 4 stop", but on "The Resolution" they cohabit to such an extent that they share the same toothbrush. This is a splendid album, not only down to the considerable writing and playing skills of the major protaganist, but also because he had the foresight to make it a group album. Thus, Maartin Allcock, Dave Lockwood, Simon Nichol, Pete Zorn and the man himself appear on all 15 tracks as an excellent five-piece band, playing oft each others' strengths, taking back seats as and when the tunes dictate, and most importantly, listening to each other. Thus we get myriad textures of bass, acoustic and electric guitars, saxophones great and small and wonderful recorder - an instrument almost as dangerous as a melodeon in the wrong hands. The vacant drum-stool allows the dynamics of melody and accompaniment emerge naturally, and there are enough time-signatures and tempos to fill a small football stadium - jigs, reels, waltzes, smoochy ones, leaping-up-and-down ones, maybe even a fox-trot (not that I would recognise one if it jumped up and bit me). Of the four photos on the package (by Brian Ledgard), three show a not-always-in-focus Dave looking disarmingly like David Hockney in an interview suit, whilst all feature the magnificent Oakwood 2.5 row in detail verging on the voyeristic, possibly pointing to a West Riding back- scratching conspiracy. Be that as it may, Woodworm Studios (of deepest Oxon) and Dave Whetstone (likewise) can be assured that they have spawned a terrific record.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.