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Writing this at the time when thoughts turn to annual award winners, there is no doubt that Half Hands Round would win one - but not in the normal categories. By a large margin it would be the “My wife’s award for outstanding stitching” as she was more than impressed with the album cover where Alison’s stitching talents are evident.

Alison Frosdick and Jack Burnaby are unknown names to me, but after a couple of plays of their CD, it is evident that they are what used to be the backbone of the folk clubs. Alison has a strong enough voice that lends itself best to the music hall end of their material, rather than the more serious stuff.

Jack plays a variety of boxes which, due to the recording, seem to be accompanied by percussive noises which I did find at times distracting. His style is very much Morris based, which is not surprising as that is where both come from. His playing reminded me a lot of Roger Watson and some of the Derbyshire players of the early days of the revival.

The material is varied with about half being traditional mixed in with some of their own work. Some are stand out tracks, Man About The House and Little Tommy Jones for instance, but Scarborough Fair falls into the ‘should have been left out’ category, I am afraid.

All in all, Half Hands Round is what it is - a good listen based on what I am sure is an entertaining live set. Hopefully they will manage to get out and about to promote it as there is plenty to enjoy here. What is evident throughout is that they have an obvious enjoyment of what they do, which is great to hear.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 105 of The Living Tradition magazine.