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BRIAN PETERS - "Beast in the Box" - Pugwash Music PUGCD003

"The Widow's Uniform" did Brian Peters' career no harm - it not only brought him to the attention of an audience far wider than the club'n'festival scene, it also gave him the chance to get the excellent fiddle playing of Nancy Kerr onto his latest CD. He uses her to good effect, especially on the "Double the Cape" set, while "The White Petticoat" gets extra texture from Gordon Tyrrall's woodwind section. Brian takes his tunes from a wide area, but has a penchant for those from the North of England written down around two hundred years ago. His anglo-concertina and melodeon playing are delightful throughout, and it is a rare thing for the words "melodeon" and "delightful" to appear together in one of my sentences! He wisely keeps his cohorts on separate tracks, and reserves some tunes as solos.

Though there are twelve instrumentals, the lad can sing a bit, so he does. Two standards - "Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy" and "October Song" and two from what I hope is the big upsurge in interest in American Old-Time - "New Railroad" and "Pushboat". While he croons away on the first two to his own box-playing, on the second two he gives it plenty with loads of mates - which is just how it should be really!

The Ledgard Jepson sleeve has two malevolent eyes glaring through the fretwork and a rather dodgy Middle-Earth-type typeface, but be assured - there are no nasty surprises within. Rather a handful of good songs and a hatful of great tunes.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 27 of The Living Tradition magazine.