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WILLIAM PINT & FELICIA DALE "White Horses" Waterbug WBG051

This was a real madeleine-cake of an album for me. Suddenly I was back 34 years to my life as a lighthouse keeper, staring out at the ocean.

For this excellent Seattle-based duo specialise in songs of the sea, and this is their sixth album that has maritime life as its theme. And, so well do they evoke sea breezes and the smell of saltwater that it made me wish I had encountered their previous five CDs.

Pint has a strong voice that lends itself well to sea shanties. Dale too can handle a song lyric, and also sings a compelling harmonic line. But best of all is her hurdy-gurdy: it seems to be ubiquitous on the album. So divinely MELODIC - not a quality I normally think of with this instrument! - That it made me wonder why the hurdy-gurdy does not have more exponents on the UK folk scene.

The stand-out track was that old favourite "Johnny Todd". Now normally this is played at brisk march speed: it is no coincidence that Everton AFC run out to it every game at Goodison Park. But they would not run out to THIS version.

Because here, Pint & Dale slow it right down, and in the process make it a thoughtful, almost meditative piece. And thus they extracted every ounce of meaning from a lyric I admit to having never really previously properly considered.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 55 of The Living Tradition magazine.