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JOHN KIRKPATRICK Book "English Choice" Published by, ISBN 1 899512624
JOHN KIRKPATRICK CD "Orlando's Return" DMPCD0301
JOHN KIRKPATRICK CD "Garrick's Delight" DMPCD0302

Following the excellent 'Northumbrian Choice' by Pauline Cato (with CDs "Bonny At Morn" and "Minstrels Fancy") and "English Choice" by Nick Barber (with CD's "Bonny Kate" and "Lovely Nancy"), John Kirkpatrick's "English Choice" continues the high standard. John K has opted for tunes which are not readily known as session standards; instead he has dipped a toe into the vast waters of the published and manuscript tunebooks of English musicians from the 17th - 19th centuries and has unearthed buried treasure. There are 101 tunes here, given in both the original key and (where appropriate) a key suitable for melodeon and for session use. There are some real crackers here and plenty of material for anyone interested in playing first-rate English music. John K also contributes an introduction with much worthwhile thought about the way the tunes should be approached - he continues his crusade for using one tune per dance, and whilst I disagree with this as a generalization, his points are well worth consideration. The book comes with two attractive CDs; arranged in medleys for ease of use and these are an excellent means of learning the material. John plays a wide range of squeezers and forgoes much of his normal vigorous ornamentation (although he can't always bring himself to omit it altogether!) and is beautifully supported by Benji Kirkpatrick's bouzouki and guitar. Although the melodeon is featured, all tunes are "suitable for all melody instruments" and chords are also provided. It's a shame that a little more editorial care wasn't taken to weed out the duplicates between John K's and Nick Barber's books ('Long Odds' and 'Dr. Faustus Tumblers' for example), but I would highly recommend this book (and the others in the series) as a real goldmine.

Paul Burgess

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.