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MAARTIN ALLCOCK - Serving Suggestion Squiggle Records SQUIGGLECD1

An impressive variety of material is a hallmark of this album. All but two of the 13 tracks are by Maartin Allcock himself or are traditionally based tunes that he has arranged. Brooks Williams' We Will Dance Someday introduces Allcock's accomplished voice. It is the sort of American number British singer John Wright would cover - appropriately as Allcock and the accordionist here - Chris Parkinson - have played in Wright's band. A 1960s song from King Crimson is at the more ethereal end of the folk spectrum.

The traditionally-based numbers include the opener in which Allcock utilises a Romanian folk tune and makes his mark with some fine guitar playing which is inspiring throughout the album. Less successful here is the keyboard that generally makes less impact than everything else on other numbers also. The two Irish tracks are 'Breathnach Reels' led by Parkinson's jaunty accordion and 'Kerry Polkas' featuring Allcock's banjo. A set of hornpipes is given a very contemporary interpretation.

Allcock's own compositions are a success. They include 'Hafelekar' evoking an Austrian mountain view with an opening reminiscent of Capercaillie and 'New Breton' that has a rocky feel. The highlight though is 'Everything Changes' with guest vocalist Gilly Darbey. She creates an expansive sound complemented by the band with exhilarating drumming by John Coghlan. Other musicians featured on this album are Chris Leslie (violin), Paul Burgess (drums) and Mick Bennion (bass). There will be much here to appeal to a wide variety of musical tastes.

Andy Jurgis

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This album was reviewed in Issue 59 of The Living Tradition magazine.