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BLAKELEY & SON - Nuts And Bolts 

BLAKELEY & SON - Nuts And Bolts 
Private Label LER03 

Garry and Edward Blakeley are a father-and-son folk duo based in Hastings. I’m racking my lockdown-fuddled brain for other father-and-son duos but can’t think of one. Garry’s a well-travelled fiddle player and a current member of Feast Of Fiddles, while multi-instrumentalist Edward is comfortable with a range of styles and has produced albums for Gigspanner and others. Garry has some Irish roots, and the songs and tunes on this 48-minute album are mainly in that tradition. The duo is well enough connected to call on 10 guest musicians including Philip Henry on slide guitar and John Spiers on melodeon. Four play percussion (sometimes on the same track) and two play electric guitar – a pointer to Garry’s liking for folk rock.

There’s quite a stretch. Garry’s fiddle sounds sweet throughout, and there are many delicate arrangements. Alfred And Matilda is a beautiful slow air dedicated to his grandparents. It merges into another reflective tune, Solitude At The Long Barrow, featuring his low whistle. By contrast, The Mechanic and Spanner In The Works tune sets, with Garry’s tunes alongside traditional ones, are among those which become too riotous for my taste. Some of the switches in style can be jarring.

Garry’s songs are Crooked Jack, with lyrics by Dominic Behan about working on the hydro dams, and Richard Thompson’s The Poor Ditching Boy which is followed by Mike McGoldrick’s Wired To The Moon. I think Edward takes the vocals for Mary And The Soldier, of which Paul Brady’s version is the best known.

I’d have preferred a more pared down approach, but there’s still a great deal to enjoy in the album.

Tony Hendry


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine