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Dave Swarbrick with Martin Carthy & Diz Disley
Rags, Reels and Airs
Topic Records - TSCD517

There is no mistaking the sound of Dave Swarbick's playing - I would hand out free cotton buds to anyone who could not listen to his playing and know immediately who it is. This is the man who has inspired countless fiddle players over the years, including myself, in his original form - before Fairport, Smiddyburn or being (mis)informed by the paper that he was dead.

Swarb is accompanied by his two mates, Martin and Diz. This was before Martin learnt how to tune his guitar wrong and sound like Martin Carthy so if you are looking for a Martin Carthy album this is not for you but Martin is a great accompanist and this is very much evident here.

Diz Disley I have not heard of before (I'm too young to remember this album first time round) but he adds a wonderful addition to the rags on the album like "Porcupine Rag" and "Dill Pickles Ray". There is the usual Swarbrick mixture of tunes from the Shetland reel "Villafjord" and the Scottish "Staten Island" to the traditional English tunes like "The Cuckoo's Nest". It is also interesting to hear tunes which were played in a different form later in Swarbrick's career, particularly "Hens March to the Middens" and "The Four Poster Bed" which most people would know as Faiport standards.

The stunning playing heard on the Fairport version of these is very evident even at this young age (mid - twenties according to the slevenotes). Overall, this is a fantastic album and if you are a Swarbrick fan, fiddle fan, mandolin fan or if you have a heart that beats you should buy this and not ask questions.

Paul Murray

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