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By now, a good many of us have been delighted by the live wonder of The Demon Barber Roadshow, so this excellent CD of eleven of their songs is timely and welcome. It could be that those who have been Barbered live will find that "Uncut" doesn't do justice to the Barbers' live sound, but it is worth remembering that the album was made before many of these songs had been played out. Having said that, my vote always goes to those artists who are better in person than on record.

A great strength of this album is that the full extent of the Demon Barbers' inventiveness and musicality, which cannot always be appreciated during the excitement of the live Roadshow, really shines through. The line up is fairly constant throughout - Damien Barber on lead vocals and acoustic guitar (or occasional concertina), Bryony Griffith on fiddle and backing vocals, Will Hampson on melodeon, Lee Sykes on electric bass and Rich Ashby on drums. Had I space enough and time, I could rhapsodise at length about each and every one of the musicians and their contribution to this album, just as I could congratulate the track list one by one. It's not just that are there no wasted tracks, there aren't even any wasted notes or words.

The album was obviously made quickly without studio witchcraft (or warlockcraft in most cases), which is a good reason for calling it "Uncut". The fact that Damien's trademark hairstyle becomes the album's trademark is neither here nor there. Nor is the appearance of Haworth Parish Hall's formidable caretaker throwing us all out at the end of the record. What really matters is that this is a great album made by people who really care about what they do, and do it very well. "Uncut" satisfies both heart and head, and best of all, promises that the best is yet to come.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 50 of The Living Tradition magazine.