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DAVE SEALEY  With A Little Bit O' Luck

DAVE SEALEY  With A Little Bit O' Luck
ADA Recordings   AD110CD

When Al Sealey died far-too-young in 1999, we lost one half of the remarkable folk duo Cosmotheka. It is fair to say that there is currently no act on the UK folk scene that has remotely filled the vacuum.  But praise be that brother Dave is still going strong. And here he comes up with a quality album of a full twenty tracks: a much-overdue tribute to the work of the great Stanley Holloway.
All the familiar monologues are there, and some unfamiliar ones too. But best of all, we have a chance to listen to Dave’s really mellifluous voice singing Holloway’s most famous songs. And the first thing that Dave’s singing makes me think is this:  I have really missed you, son. You really are a talent: you can belt them out with the best, and yet you can do “sensitive” and – yet another string to your bow – you can deliver intricate “patter” songs as well as anyone in the D’Oyly Carte!
We have a stellar producer in John Tams, and some fine piano accompaniment from Bob Willis and Barry Hipkiss. Even a guest appearance on one track from Messrs Coope & Simpson!  So all is hunky dory with this CD? Surely not? No albums are PERFECT, are they?
Well, I have to say that this album is pretty well faultless. But PUSH me to find some caveat, and I would say that I would have liked Dave to have spoken some of the monologues in his own accent, instead of using stage Northern, or stage Irish, etc. But then what the heck: he is only following the path that Holloway himself trod, since I seem to recall once reading that Stanley was a Londoner who adopted “north of England” vowel sounds for many of his monologues, especially the Marriott Edgar ones!
And the highlight? Definitely, “Albert Down Under”. I mentioned that some unfamiliar monologues are here: well, this is the rarest of the lot, by far. Dave himself says (in his excellent liner notes) that he is not even sure that Stan ever recorded it. I tell you this: if Holloway ever had, he’d not have done a better job than this. And there is no higher praise.
Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 78 of The Living Tradition magazine.