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JOHN KIRKPATRICK "The Duck Race" Fledg'ling Records FLED 3043

The subtitle of Morris Dance Tunes from Shropshire really gives the game away. What it says is what you get. If anyone is not aware of John's links with this fine tradition, they will be after listening to this. Here we have another selection of tunes used by the male and female, respectively, Morris teams of The Shropshire Bedlams and Martha Rhoden's Tuppenny Dish, which have a co-founder in common in our man John. If you get the feeling that this is where his passion lies, then, gentle reader, you would not be mistaken.

Would much of the modern interest in Morris have emerged without John's work in the album Morris On? This may be a question for future academics to debate at length. This new CD is far from being an academic piece, however. Rather it is a vibrant and vigorous example of the music which has been crafted over the years, and indeed continues to be written, to nurture the Morris traditions.

Morris tunes are essentially written to dance to, and are not over-complicated in themselves. The essence of the tunes has to be conveyed to the dancers, in order that their own needs are fed back to the musicians, and thus the tune and the dance enter into a symbiotic relationship which transcends that between player and mere listener. As you would expect from a John Kirkpatrick recording, the tunes are flawlessly executed, and there are detailed notes, which include technical details of the various squeeze-boxes used. No matter what level you take this at, it is a pure joy to listen to.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 57 of The Living Tradition magazine.