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DAVE SWARBRICK "Smiddyburn/Flittin" Raven RVCD54

How's this for a bargain? Two for the price of one. Honest! This is the way it should be with reissues, two albums on one CD. I know others are doing it but it does seem to be Castle Communications policy - they've already issued quite a few including Dave's "Swarbrick 1 and 2". The idea is that you put two complete albums on one CD, and to me this is the one where it works the best. Not only do you get nearly 70 minutes (it makes you think just how short some albums were) but these two sit together as if they were made for each other. And that's not surprising as, according to the otherwise useless notes, they were recorded during a fourteen day period in July 1981.

There are 16 tracks in all - both originals were conveniently 8 - there are 8 which really ought to go down as Fairport as the "backing band" is Nicol, Pegg, Mattacks and Richard Thompson. Mr. Thompson is also on 3 others. Had Dave left the band in 1981? I can't remember, although it doesn't matter as they sound as good as ever. In fact that could be said of this whole CD. It really does stand the test of time extremely well.

Mention must be made of the amazing playing of Beryl Marriott - at her best on piano but equally at home on accordion. She is one of the best accompanists of traditional music around, apparently she is still impressing people on her recent tour with Chris Leslie.

Incidentally there is only one example of Dave's vocal talent - the song with the worst rhyme in history. Listen out for "not like yours is" followed by "a caravan with horses". (Competition idea?)

So my advice is get yourself a bargain, one with no strings attached (except on the instruments!!!!) or hidden gimmicks. I presume the album is available over here - my copy seems to be Australian in origin. A reissue well worth having.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 20 of The Living Tradition magazine.