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SPOIL THE DANCE - Fairer Skies

SPOIL THE DANCE - Fairer Skies
Private Label STD013

If English folk music has a capital city, it surely must be Sheffield and its surrounds. Quite apart from its 'Bellowheadification' there is a unique wealth of riches there – and still they come. Spoil The Dance comes from Dronfield, a few miles out of town, and for good, clean musicianship, you could take them anywhere.

What they need to elevate them to the first division is a truly distinctive sound. The line-up is mainly flute and strings, plus the vocals of Gaynor Brook, who is good if not unforgettable. This collection is predominantly traditional in origin, although other writers in that idiom also contribute. Some of the material is a little over-familiar, some less so, but what's another version of Ten Thousand Miles between friends?

The band can't be faulted for their variety and and their eclectic range of source material, but if that is largely Scots and Irish then there is also a strong thread of French influence in self-penned tunes like The Cat And The Capo. All in all, a good, solid listen.

Dave Hadfield

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This album was reviewed in Issue 123 of The Living Tradition magazine.