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THE ALBION DANCE BAND - Dancing Days Are Here Again

THE ALBION DANCE BAND - Dancing Days Are Here Again
Talking Elephant TECD106A&B

 

This is an unexpected double-CD release (not least to the band members unaware of its existence!).  The presentation is shoddy in the extreme – a six-page insert gives only the names of the band members and a track listing, photos of two of the twelve people featured and two large irrelevant (and presumably copyright-free) pictures.  Even the press release gushingly refers to thirteen renowned ex-members of the band – unfortunately only three of them feature here.

The first album is from the “Prospect Before Us” line-up, when the band were blazing a new and exciting musical trail with a terrific line-up including two drummers, concertina the flashing virtuosic high recorders and curtal of Phil Pickett and the more prosaic (and occasionally out-of-tune) lower recorders and vièlle of John Sothcott.  This is from a concert in the Royal Festival Hall in 1976 recorded by the sound engineers.  The band are on fine form, ranging from medieval songs from Shirley Collins to folk material from Eddie Upton, estampittas rub shoulders with Varsoviannas and everyone has a fine old time.  The second album is unreleased studio recordings from the 1983 line-up of Mattocks/Hutching/Nicol with Dave Whetstone and Jean-Pierre Rasle (although Jean-Pierre doesn’t appear to feature much).  Some material is rather unmemorable or unfinished, but there’s some good stuff here (notable some of the Dave Whetstone tunes), others, such as the synthesiser twiddling is the sound of a band losing its way.  Great memories and some good fun – with 2CDs for the price of one-mid-price CD it’s worth investigating.

Paul Burgess

 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.