Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
Here's a brand new release from box supremo Brian and master flute and guitar player Gordon, both excellent singers who have a healthy reputation on the folk scene as solo artists while also being much in demand to work with other musicians. (Brian is a driving force in the Rocky Mountain Ploughboys, while Gordon has occasionally teamed with Maggie Boyle and regularly appears with ceilidh/dance outfit Magnetic North).

'The Moving Moon' is the long-awaited follow-up to 1995's 'Clear The Road', and in a way it's more of the same - re-stating their... "shared belief that traditional music can and should be dynamic and exciting, never harmless or twee; that the old songs and tunes of the British Isles are quite as good as anyone else's and that new songs and tunes can sit comfortably alongside them". So, we get an original song of Gordon's ('Getting The Hang Of It All', inspired by a remark by the great piper Willie Clancy); some fine composed tunes (the beautiful title track by Chesterfield's John Stoppard and a bagpipe tune by Colin Magee), and Brian's moving setting of a Les Barker "serious poem" ('Earth'), all fitting in perfectly alongside a treasure-trove of vital and vigorous treatments of far-from-standard variants of traditional songs.

The unusual, wistful version of (the oft-dreaded) 'Wild Rover' is a real discovery, bringing back a different wildness, a long-lost reflective quality, to the song. 'The Green Willow Tree' is a kind of mirror-image variant of 'Golden Vanity', and 'Long A-Growing' (based on the singing of gypsy Queen Caroline Hughes) has a strange and fascinating mixed-mode tune. Brian and Gordon then show that there's no disgrace in harbouring eclectic musical predilections, topping up the already generous tracklisting by moseying-on-down the 'Santa Fe Trail' (the Lomax-collected cowboy ballad famously and rousingly rendered by the late Peter Bellamy) with a gently swaying tex-mex drawl, and presenting two classics from the rock songbook - Dylan's 'Not Dark Yet' (a good demonstration of the duo's consistency of approach to a true modern-day folksong) - and the Rolling Stones' 'The Last Time' which (though it can't ever replicate the visceral white-groove-tearing loudness of the original) certainly boogies the CD out in style.

Everything on this album has been a part of the live act (either jointly or severally) for a while now, and the duo's equal-partnership arrangements (trading parts with an ease born of true professionalism) feel so right. Their attention to detail, individual virtuosity and versatility is as impressive as ever, just as their overall enthusiasm and unpretentiousness is immensely captivating and refreshing.

The production is sensitively engineered by Rob van Santé, who admirably captures the two players' characteristically full sound (I particularly liked the duo's increasing use of that "difficult" flute & box combination), and the whole collection is well balanced and sequenced (the five purely instrumental selections sensibly punctuating the proceedings). Even at sixty minutes, it's over all too soon!

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 42 of The Living Tradition magazine.