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KATIE HOWSON & JEANNIE HARRIS "Unbuttoned" Old Hat Music OH4CD

A CD for lovers of traditional-style melodeon playing and unaccompanied traditional-style song, or at least one particular aspect of it.

There are no extraneous instruments to detract from the listener's pleasure, Katie and Jeannie obviously feel such additions are unnecessary, and it certainly is a refreshing change from the multi-instrumental extravaganzas that are sometimes heaped on the shoulders of traditional music these days.

Katie and Jeannie's playing is a pleasure to listen to, the tunes are are taken at a pace which allows them to breathe and which allows you to savour their beauty and enjoy the runs and links that the players insert. Picking a favourite track from the eight melodeon pieces is difficult, but for me it's a toss up between the Peril Waltz and Captain White's Jig.

There are four songs on this CD - more would have been welcome and at 56 minutes long there was room on the CD for more. All the songs are unaccompanied and the CD insert notes credit the songs to traditional Suffolk singers and Jeannie Harris' singing style is very reminiscent of the some of the characteristics of that area. If you are familiar with the singing style of Phoebe Smith, for example, then you'll know what I mean and if not, then this CD would be a fine introduction to that style.

Bob Blair

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This album was reviewed in Issue 31 of The Living Tradition magazine.