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2DUOS Until The Cows Come Home

Until The Cows Come Home
Artes Records ARCD3043

Some recordings take a while to grow on you.  Not this one!  Right from the start I was hooked!  This is the result of the collaboration of 2 duos with a joint love of traditional music -   Claire Mann and Aaron Jones from Scotland, and Gudrun Walther and Jürgen Treyz from Germany.  Together they play a mixture of songs and tunes from Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and further afield.

Aaron is the master of picking cracking songs that suit him right down to the ground, and those on this CD are no exception.  It opens with a rousing version of the Midlothian Mining Song, with driving guitar and bouzouki work and layered harmonies that are both unusual and catchy.  Most of the others are contemporary; including Richard Thompson’s Beeswing and Sandy Denny’s Solo, all given the magic touch I have come to expect of Aaron.  My only slight complaint – and it is only a small one - is that Aaron has recorded a couple of these songs on previous albums, and while it’s nice to hear the different treatment given to them, I know he has a lot more up his sleeve that I would love to hear.  Jürgen’s dobro is particularly subtle and effective on some of the songs, as are the accordion bass lines which add a fullness to the overall sound.

Gudrun’s strong, clear voice makes a great job of five traditional German songs, covering themes that are familiar to trad lovers everywhere – love, sex, dressing up, drowning and revenge.  I was awaiting the appearance of a “wee penknife” and a broken token!  Die Ballade Von Den Drei Grafen Und Der Nonne is a striking song, sung beautifully, and the arrangement is reminiscent of some of Ian Carr and Karen Tweed’s more gentle work.  

Claire’s flute, whistle and fiddle, along with Gudren’s fiddle and accordion, provide the basis for most of the tunes, with Aaron’s unmistakable bouzouki and Jürgen’s guitar giving a driving rhythmic backdrop.  Of particular note is Asturian tune Pasucais d’Uvieu, in which flute and fiddle effortlessly intertwine, creating a light happy feel, and the Spike Island Set where the two fiddles blaze their way through a fiery set.  The standard of the musicianship is impeccable, and they certainly don’t sound like 2 duos, they are a tight outfit who play around each other with a natural ease.  The arrangements are thoughtful and imaginative throughout, and mention must be made of the superb quality of the recording and production.  A finely honed album – tasty stuff!

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.