John Kirkpatrick & Chris Parkinson

John Kirkpatrick & Chris Parkinson - The Sultans of Squeeze
Fledg'ling FLED3056

Some time ago John K and Parky did a double gig at Geoff Bibby’s club in Warrington, and apparently they enjoyed themselves so much they decided to continue - and this is the result! Fifteen tracks, a variety of instruments, and just about an hour of superb squeezing on an eclectic mix of material. But it’s the combinations of the different instruments that is surprising, complementing, counterbalancing, and enhancing of each other. ‘Ye Gentlemen of High Renown’ has JK’s anglo concertina paired with CP’s bass piano accordion to great effect, as they are again on ‘Fare Ye Well Lovely Nancy’. ‘A Tankard of Ale’ has bass anglo concertina with two row melodeon, as does CP’s own composition ‘Golden Grove’, whilst the bass anglo is balanced by bass piano accordion on a terrific version of John Phillip Sousa’s ‘The Liberty Bell’ - who needs a brass band when you have two bass squeeze-boxes, and two good pair of hands? Another interesting, and challenging, choice is ‘African Waltz’ which was recorded in the fifties by both Johnny Dankworth and Cannonball Adderley, but the Sultans of Squeeze more than do it justice here with button and piano accordeon. Sadly they don’t fare as well on ‘Squeeze Box’, and as an old Mod, I’m afraid I’m going to stick with Daltry and the Who’s original. But hey, the Sultans are having fun! And that feeling of fun permeates through the entire album, with JK and CP obviously out to enjoy themselves, besides exploring the range of their instruments. And for all you squeezers who want to spend money on fancy instruments, listen to ‘The Rambling Sailor’ and see just what can be achieved on two Hohner pokerworks, or a set of reels where JK plays one-row and CP plays two row – but only on the D row “to make a good old-fashioned sound!”.

‘Sultans of Squeeze’ isn’t ground-breaking or cutting-edge, but it is exceptionally fine playing from two of the best in the business. It’s interesting, lively, and fun – what more could you possibly want?

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 64 of The Living Tradition magazine.