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MATT QUINN - The Brighton Line

MATT QUINN - The Brighton Line
Hebe Music HEBECD008

What a bold album! Matt Quinn is best known as a melodeon player with The Dovetail Trio, Geckoes, and so on. His debut album, Broom Abundance, was a mix of songs and tunes. Now, with The Brighton Line, he goes for broke with 11 traditional songs from his native Sussex, sung unaccompanied or with restrained accompaniment on melodeon, concertina and mandolin. He shows the greatest respect for his roots, listing the source singers for each song – Harry Upton, Pop Maynard, Scan Tester, Mary Anne Haynes, The Copper Family and all.

His pleasant tenor voice seems to grow in authority as the album progresses. By the end, he is tackling a nine-minute unaccompanied The Plains Of Waterloo with ease, then following it up with a beautifully phrased The Golden Vanity learnt from Mike Yates’ recording of Johnny Doughty. Other highlights include Deep In Love (Roud 18829 – yes, Matt gives a Roud number for every song), versions of Canadee-i-o and Riding Down To Portsmouth which are slower than those we’ve got used to, and a comic song, Butter And Cheese And All, from the singing of Leslie Johnson. The accompaniment is always polished and subtle, giving the songs plenty of breathing space.

Matt’s mother, Rebe Cleveland, has traced her family tree, and he is the fifth generation to be born in Sussex. His father Dan (Flowers And Frolics, Duck Soup, etc) has lived there for many years. Sussex has a great song tradition. Though the source singers have passed away, the folk community there works hard to keep it going. Matt can be very proud of this contribution. I love this album.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.