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DAVE TOWNSEND - Concertina Allsorts 

DAVE TOWNSEND - Concertina Allsorts 
The Serpent Press SER015 

This man has made an inestimable contribution to many aspects of a wide range of musical areas in Britain since the 1970s, we should be grateful that so many of them have been on the wider folk scene - from the exciting folk/rock of Jumpleads to the Hardyesque village of The Mellstock Band, his teaching, publishing and theatre work. Read the biography on his website and be amazed.

Playing his two concertinas from the early part of the 20th century, a Wheatstone tenor-treble and a baritone Lachenal, Dave brings us an exhilarating range of music here. A hornpipe is followed by some Mozart; Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia On My Mind is followed by three pieces by Haydn; he has sought out pieces from a 17th century lutenist and a 19th century viola teacher and brought them into the concertina repertoire. His decades long involvement with Cotswold Morris is reflected here with The Princess Royal and Old Tom Of Oxford which tries to use the distinctive harmonies that William Kimber played on the anglo-concertina.

There are examples of just what an amazing technical skill Dave has on his instruments, particularly when variations on a theme are involved. The melodies of both the Lonsdale Hornpipe and the Victorian parlour favourite, Home Sweet Home! are both stated in a straightforward way before they are fragmented into increasing complexity, and all the time, he keeps his phrasing nimble and precise.

Mention ought to be made of the contribution of Michael Taylor for the excellence of his recording and mastering. This enables us to hear this remarkable musician in a manner that he deserves.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 138 of The Living Tradition magazine