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THE QUEENSBERRY RULES - The Black Dog and Other Stories

THE QUEENSBERRY RULES - The Black Dog and Other Stories
Fellside Recordings FECD201

In a sense it's most appropriate that Fellside should be showcasing an up-and-coming act in their 30 th anniversary year, as this was a large part of the original raison d'être of the label when Paul and Linda Adams first conceived it. This trio have three self-produced albums to their credit, so have in a sense served their time. Their last one was a faux tribute to Stoke-on-Trent (thank God it was them and not Robbie Williams, heaven knows what that would have turned out like!). This album, is almost totally comprised of self-penned material, and almost by definition allows reproduction of the lyrics without having to ask permission. The songs' origins are also explained, although somebody needs to remind their author that, for example, Norfolk is in Europe.

The instruments are predominantly stringed, acoustic of course. Gary Wilcox, who handles most of the lead vocals, also plays more percussion instruments than you can shake a stick at (and I think he probably does that also). The only 'trad' offering is Rounding the Horn, which has been altered from a straightforward song in common time and simple modal tuning (D Mixolydian) to an eccentric rhythm coupled with an, at times discordant, chordal arrangement (I think I would have preferred it if it had been kept as a shanty).

Their own compositions cover diverse subjects ranging from Fair Trade coffee and natural disasters to road accidents and collapsing land in Staffordshire (it's the mines don't you know). Most of them feature competent enough musicianship and fair harmonies - they're trying hard and showing great potential, but the subject matter is probably going to limit the scope for cover versions. The CD includes a video file that crashes every computer I tried to view it on (but the sleeve notes do warn us that the band can't guarantee that it will work). Don't get me started on technology.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 70 of The Living Tradition magazine.