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NEW DEAL STRING BAND- "Dealing a New Hand" - Wild CD19804

I've lived in fear of six fingered banjo players playing this kind of music ever since I saw what happened to those poor businessmen on a canoeing trip, in "Deliverance". Nevertheless, in the name of art, one must overcome such handicaps and so I sat down to listen to this album of Old Time Music aware that it is a type of music with certain characteristics which has assured its continuance in a wholly oral tradition for around a century or so.

Its character is "lively, exciting, tender, funny, caring, bright, cheerful and direct and expressive" according to the CD notes. Also according to this same source, the band is "some of the most accomplished musicians in the business". They're certainly strong instrumentally with Tom Paley on fiddle (excellent with son Ben, also on fiddle on "Retreat") but less convincing on vocals - their "Didn't He Ramble" doesn't compare with Debbie McLatchy's version for example.

Recorded mostly in the upstairs room of a house in the South of England with three musicians in front of three mikes clearly enjoying themselves, rough bits and all, for aficianadoes of this type of music at 22 tracks long it offers good value.

Hector Christie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 36 of The Living Tradition magazine.