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RED SHOES - All The Good Friends

RED SHOES - All The Good Friends
Cedarwood Records CEDAR14

I’ll start by holding my hands up and saying that I have never heard of Red Shoes, which is surprising because this duo has been performing off and on since the 1980’s. Carolyn and Mark Evans took time out for family things before raising their profile about five years ago. Carolyn provides most of the vocals with Mark accompanying her on acoustic guitar and all bar one song are their own compositions – showing a good grasp of song writing skills and very good interpretations of the messages within. I have to ask myself why the cover of Blackberry Way is there, it might be good live, but I suggest they stick to their own material.

But that is only half the story. Our acoustic scene is full of singer-songwriter outfits that produce some pretty standard recorded work. All The Good Friends is different for one reason - the guests, including Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders, Bev Bevan, Dave Pegg and not forgetting Dave Swarbrick, who gel into a coherent band. But all the time it is the quality of Carolyn and Mike’s vocals that comes through. There is enough here in the themes to make you think rather than just letting it flow over the listener, although I am a bit concerned about all the references to leaving and farewells!

Lots of care has been taken over the production, from recording to artwork and packaging, with some great photos of the players in their childhood days.

Well done for releasing what could have been just an ordinary album but has been lifted well above that by all the care taken.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.