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Will Duke & Dan Quinn - Scanned Music for Lungs & Bellows HEBECD003

The title of this CD gives a good clue to a major aspect of its contents which owe much to the music of the late Scan Tester of Sussex, and his polkas, marches and scottisches are featured strongly.  Besides being absolutely excellent tunes, they are played by Will and Dan in a style that accurately and sympathetically follows that of the man himself, being testament to this duo’s skills, their understanding of the tradition, and to the importance and influence of Scan Tester himself.

This is the second recording from a duo that have immersed themselves in the sound and style which was largely responsible for fuelling the revival over twenty years ago and Will and Dan have drawn on their wealth of experience to record some absolute gems.  Besides Scan Tester’s terrific tunes there are pieces from the repertoires of Suffolk melodeon players Jack Norris and Oscar Woods, and a smashing waltz set, which includes one written by Will for his wife, Christine.  The melodeon and anglo-concertina complement each other perfectly in the hands of Dan and Will, with a punchy rhythmic style and clean, crisp, and economical playing.  But it’s not only on the tunes – the songs also benefit, with excellent versions of Walter Pardon’s ‘The Hungry Army’, and ‘Ball of Yarn,’ from the singing of Mary Ann Haynes.  Elsewhere however they sing in unison and unaccompanied, on Pardon’s ‘Rakish Young Fellow’, Haynes’ ‘Long A-Growing’, and ‘Died For Love’, from Cambridgeshire traveller, Frank O’Connor.  For unison singing to work properly there is a need for a very high degree of understanding between the performers, which borders on being instinctive, and Will and Dan succeed admirably.

This CD is a celebration of our musical heritage, in both tunes and songs, demonstrating the duo’s obvious love of the material, and it is simply a delight to listen to.  ‘Scanned’ captures the very essence of English Traditional music - and revels in it!

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.