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CHRIS WOOD & ANDY CUTTING "Wood & Cutting Live at Sidmouth"
RUF Records RUFCD03

Recorded live, as billed, last August at Sidmouth Festival, with the help of Jez Riley of A.D.A. Distribution. Fiddle player, guitarist and singer, Chris Wood and melodeon and button accordionist, Andy Cutting fit together well as a duo and this recording contains just some of material they have worked on and developed over the years. Joining them on some tracks is Morten Alfred Hoirup, whose guitar playing adds some extra warmth and fullness to the arrangements.

Much of the music, as played by Chris Wood and Andy Cutting is French or French influenced Quebecois. From the traditional "J'ai Vu Le Loup", which is played with even more verve and attack than when I last saw them live, to Michel Faubert's, "Valse Des Jouets", a slowish piece which allows the fiddle and melodeon to weave and meander through the tune. "Une Autre Fois" and "Le Canal En Octobre", by Frederick Paris, is again a slowish set but with a more direct and positive structure. "Quadrille Des Laurentide", is one of the sets on which Morten Alfred Hoirup provides some guitar accompaniment. Morten's guitar style is loosely Jazz based, with nice full chords and a dry, rhythmic sound. The instrumentals are interspersed by some songs from Chris Wood. As well as "J'ai Vu Le Loup" he includes his own songs "The Lazy Farmer" and "Hares on the Mountain" and a layed back version of "When First I Came to Caledonia". I would have liked to have heard some more of his playing as well, a fiddle solo would have been nice. The marvellous, dexterous melodeon playing of Andy Cutting can by heard throughout the recording. From the fine control on the slow pieces, "Elizabeth Clare" and "When First I Came to Caledonia", to the power playing on the faster more rhythmic, "Potpourri of Reels" and the exuberance on "Brandy".

A live set from Chris Wood and Andy Cutting can be a relaxed and almost informal affair, the two players reserving their energy for the music which is always entertaining and evolving. This recording goes a long way towards capturing some of that good humour and much of the good music. Among many commitments this year they are at the Folkworks Youth Summer School in July, with workshops and tutorials on fiddle, melodeon and button accordion. For myself, this opportunity is some twenty-odd years too late, however for younger button and string players, this should prove to be a great experience.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 10 of The Living Tradition magazine.