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Ghosts From The Basement GFTB7047

As I sit here enjoying the late afternoon sunshine on a rooftop terrace in Southern France during early September with a glass of the local produce in my hand, this CD seems just perfect. Ian Anderson and Ben Mandelson, aka The False Beards, have a wealth of experience both solo and working together, most noticeably as part of Orchestre Super Moth, a Tiger Moth offshoot, Ian in the English Country Blues Band and Ben in 3 Mustaphas 3 and Billy Bragg's Blokes.

Ben plays bouzouki and mandolin whilst Ian plays slide guitar, guitar and provides the vocals. Their fairly laid back style is established right from the start, with a good clear recording showing their skill on the stringing things - but don't get lulled into a false sense of security as there are some surprises on the way. The first is the start of Oscar’s, which features the great Oscar Woods on melodeon and the second when Katie Rose sings on a couple of traditional tracks. There's some hard hitting social comment and a very interesting version of a Rolling Stones’ track.

I am not sure that Ankle will be appreciated by everyone as it is very stylistic, but the album certainly exudes class from these two excellent musicians. I am sure it will still be on my playlist when I return home to the cold and gloom of the English winter. I won't have a rooftop terrace - but I will have brought back enough of that local produce!

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 99 of The Living Tradition magazine.