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THE MANIACS - Decomposed 18th Century Dance Music 

THE MANIACS - Decomposed 18th Century Dance Music 
Private Label 

Even before Paul Sartin and Paul Hutchinson decided that their highly successful partnership in Belshazzar's Feast had run its course, another of Paul's partnerships was with the clarinettist Karen Wimhurst, once of her amazing cross-genre band, The Cauld Blast Orchestra.

Paul's researches led him to three books of 18th century English dance tunes and it is his arrangements of some of these tunes that provide the content here; very fine arrangements they are too, with strong ensemble passages yet with room for each instrumentalist to shine.

He seems to leave most of the featured leads to Karen and to the fiddle player Seona Pritchard, and they share some precise attacking playing. The playing manages to sound both complex and relaxed and there ought to be a mention for the superb sound achieved by engineer and producer Ed Bersey. Left to last is the contribution from the cello, though in some ways it is the most exciting aspect of a very enjoyable album. Its history is one of neglect by the folk scene. Barry Dransfield's song accompaniments on it could scarcely be bettered, and it has rumbled beneath some dance bands, but for superb folk music cellist technicians one has to think of Richard Bolton and Gill Redmond; it is the latter that contributes here. Her role changes from accompanying to harmonising to solo lead and every note she plays is tinged with excitement.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 134 of The Living Tradition magazine