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WILL FINN & ROSIE CALVERT - Beneath This Place

WILL FINN & ROSIE CALVERT - Beneath This Place
Haystack Records HAYCD012

Just occasionally, something lands on your doormat about which you know nothing in advance, but which is so distinctive that it can't be ignored. Hailing from the North East of England, each of this husband and wife combo is a considerable singer (together they form half of a cappella singing group, The Teacups), but what really sets them apart here is their choice of lead instrument.

The steel pan is more often associated with Caribbean music; here it finds a home with a wide variety of tunes and songs from the folk mainstream. It works remarkably well; far more of an exploration than a gimmick. Right from the first bars of the gold-rush anthem, The Banks Of The Sacramento, the sound is rich and fascinating. That applies even to relatively familiar songs, like January Man, Paddy's Lamentation and The Cottager's Reply - the latter so well-known from Chris Wood's definitive version.

It isn't all steel pans, though. One of the more attractive tracks, which the duo calls Scampo, is a delicious slice of mouth music.

One way and another, this album deserves to be heard.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.