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CHRIS WOOD & ANDY CUTTING Knock John RUFCD08

This album is largely based around a common repertoire of dance music, plus a couple of particularly well-known songs, learned independently before Chris Wood and Andy Cutting began playing together - "Bonny Breast Knot", "Mrs Casey" and "Country Gardens" are all here.

For those who don't already know, Cutting and Wood are among the finest traditional players of their generation. Andy Cutting plays diatonic button accordion and Chris Wood plays violin, viola and sings the odd song. His "Spencer the Rover" is particularly authoritative - I particularly like the lack of fuss.

Helped along by Ian Carr on guitar, it comes as no surprise that much of the album comes across as what you would hear if you were witness to a "perfect" session - familiar tunes played for the love of the music. But the interspersed original tunes are also pretty inspiring. "Knock Knock Who?" - its name referring to a fort in the Thames Estuary as well as the popular joke genre - is Wood and Carr's "Music for a Found Harmonium" - all complex rhythms and repeated figures, yet catchy as hell.

Helena Torpy's "Attingham Waltz" is a delightfully serene composition before the fun begins again with "Country Gardens" - it never ceases to amaze me how some tunes can still be made to sound as fresh as ever, despite man's efforts to do them to death. Recommended.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 38 of The Living Tradition magazine.