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SHERBURN, BARTLEY & SCOTT "Live at The Wharf" Sherbart Music SMCD001

Wandering troubadours Chris Sherburn and Denny Bartley are joined by uilleann piper Nick Scott in a live set recorded at the Tavistock venue on January 23rd of this year.

The lightning release of this album echoes the frenetic tempo of most of the tune sets played here. Nick Scott reputedly played only a handful of gigs with the established duo before this recording and his playing is hotly syncopated with Chris Sherburn's finger flicking good concertina wrangling, notably on the "Rakish Paddy" set. Scott also proves his pedigree on a beautiful version of "The May Morning Dew", where he draws the full emotive qualities from his instrument, as if he's spent the last few years sitting on Liam O'Flynn's spare knee.

Doubts also still remain about the quality of Denny Bartley's approach to the song content. Never a man to rest a note on one beat when five will do, he stretches the limits of acceptability, notably on "The Burning Times", a tiresome murky dirge if ever there was one. This, and his tendency to continually hack away at his axe whilst shouting at the others to keep up becomes increasingly annoying during repeat plays. But thankfully he redeems the situation with a fine rendition of "Gallant Tipperary Boys", followed by a sympathetic slow jig from Sherburn which is probably the highlight of the album.

The recording quality of the band is generally good throughout, but the crowd reaction is strangely muted. Like a session banging away in a corner, the trio seem to play in a vacuum, leaving the impression that what could have been a great live album is unfortunately just a good one.

Iain McQueen

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This album was reviewed in Issue 34 of The Living Tradition magazine.