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Beautiful Jo Records BEJOCD-34

This CD won me over from the moment I picked it up.  The sleeve comes complete with tea rings and apparent smudges from chocolate biscuits.It is cleverly setting out its stall before you even put the CD into your CD player: it is telling you to relax and listen to two equally relaxed musicians.

But when you listen to this album, you quickly realise that there is no danger that you will substitute the adjective "slipshod" for their casual approach.  Au contraire: these are two former finalists of the BBC Young Folk Award - indeed Tim was the 1998 winner - and they are clearly squeeze-box merchants at the height of their powers.The album will delight not only concertina and melodeon players, but also the rest of us folkies who do not listen with the fine appreciation of members of the squeeze-box Magic Circle.

Tim handles the five vocal tracks with considerable aplomb.  He sings like a young Carthy.  As for Robert, for some bizarre reason he does not sing at all, until the end of the CD where he makes a sublime vocal entrance, harmonising superbly on "Bold Riley".  Does he lack confidence in himself as a singer, or what?  Although Tim already has a solo CD under his belt, this is the duo's first album together.  I hope to hear a lot more of  Robert's singing on any second CD that might materialise.

"Bold Riley" is by some distance the stand-out track.  Instrumentally, the Swedish content made an impression on me, especially "Det Stod en Jungfru". (Tim actually sang a couple of verses in Swedish: alas as I had no idea what he was singing about, so I can only judge it on its melodic content.And that was LUSCIOUS.)

Any box player you know would love you to buy this CD for them as a gift.And as for the majority of folkies who are not box players, well, all I can say is that many of them would be happy to receive it also.

But let's have more of Robert Harbron's voice next time please.

Dai Woosnam

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This album was reviewed in Issue 44 of The Living Tradition magazine.