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JOHN McCUSKER - Yella Hoose/Goodnight Ginger

JOHN McCUSKER - Yella Hoose/Goodnight Ginger
NAVIGATOR7CD

A double-pack reissue of two of this talented musician’s albums.  Well-known for his work with Battlefield Band and the Kate Rusby Band as well as a superb solo musician these two albums are a good way of getting to know his work.  Aided by a slew of terrific musicians to help out, (including a couple of lovely songs from Kate) such as Phil Cunningham, this was never going to be anything short of excellent – and excellent it is.  Fairly low key – the performances, even the few up-tempo numbers, are very controlled and gentle – an occasional burst of passion wouldn’t have come amiss – and this is exaggerated by the tone of the fiddle that he uses.  It sounds almost as if he is using an electric instrument (Bridge violins do get a credit) but there is little character about the instrument, apart from a bit of acidity, and everything is rather smooth and featureless.   Initially this sound blends well with the other instruments, but after a while I find it rather tiring on the ear.  Don’t let these quibbles put you off, this really is a beautiful and enjoyable piece of work.

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.