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LAST NIGHT'S FUN 'Tempered' Rabble Rouser RR0003

Capturing the essence of Last Night's Fun's music on a recording is no easy matter, but with Tempered I believe that Adrian McNally has come the closest yet. He took Scott, Bartley and Sherburn to Doxford Hall in Northumberland, arranged for them to be snowed in and, as I understand it, wouldn't let them go home until they'd finished - isn't that what managers are for? The problem he has (apart from certain band members coming from the top echelons of scallywagdom) is that LNF's live performances present their music so perfectly that to present it in any other form will always fall short. So having settled that it's not as good as live, let me rush on to say that this is a very fine CD indeed, combining elements of great strength and durability with complex and intricate beauty producing a result that is - it must be said - tempered.

Very close to the 45 minutes that classic albums are supposed to last, Tempered features a very satisfactory alternation of four tune sets with four songs. The songs are Tawney's Sammy's Bar, McColl's Thirty Foot Trailer, Guthrie's Tom Joad and a wonderful reworking of the traditional Whiskey In The Jar, all sung by Denny Bartley in that way he has of making things sound so very old, and yet so very new at the same time. Tunes include The Humours Of Ballyloughlin, The Watchmaker and Doxford Hall, the latter being made up by Chris Sherburn while the others were doing more normal things like eating, sleeping and so on.

We are extremely fortunate that these three found one another (I like to think that Chris and Denny joined Nick Scott rather than vice versa) in order to make such great, great music and brighten our lives. Tempered is another exciting chapter in the fascinating story that is Last Night's Fun.

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.