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BRIAN PETERS 'Lines' Pugwash PUGCD 004

This is essentially a collection of traditional songs and tunes, but includes a substantial number of Brian's own compositions, giving the CD a good solid feel, with it's roots very firmly in English traditional music, in both content and style. Brian plays guitar, concertina, mandolin and, of course, melodeon, and although he is accompanied by Nancy Kerr on fiddle and viola, with James Fagan and Margaret Peters adding occasional backing vocals, it is still very much a solo album.

The 'big' ballads have been a common thread running through Peters' work, and he doesn't disappoint here, with The Gypsie Laddie, Sir William Gower', and Young Hunting all featuring. He also covers Polly On The Shore and Hind Horn but I'm afraid his renditions suffered because I still had, respectively, Martin Simpson's and Chris Coe's renditions, fresh in my mind - stiff competition for him I'm afraid. There is also a version of The Derby Ram as the final track on the album, and although I'm sure that it will have a place in his live club set, it seemed an odd inclusion on this recording. I felt it was out of keeping with the rest of the album, and do we really need another version of the song, albeit one with a nautical bent?

However for me with this guy's such very fine musicianship, the tunes are the thing, and Peters' clean, crisp, playing is a real joy, he's a master technician, and a fine writer too. His Sidewinder/Magic Tomato/Captain Cooks set is grand dance music in the English style, and there's more elsewhere, with polkas, jigs, and hornpipes, including Double Jeopardy/Hatters Delight, a pair of really excellent double hornpipes. The highlight of the album, for me was the gently reflective The Garden Off The Green, one of his own compositions and a super tune, played superbly.

Overall 'Lines' is a well-balanced, well-produced CD., and with excellent sound values (courtesy of Oliver Knight of Panda Sound), but it is slightly flawed, lacking some of the spark of Peters' earlier offerings. .

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 48 of The Living Tradition magazine.