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SPOIL THE DANCE - Returning Home 

SPOIL THE DANCE - Returning Home 
Private Label STD034 

This is the third album form this quartet from North-East Derbyshire. It presents 10 tracks, three dance tune instrumentals, with the remainder being traditional songs (apart from the contemporary Sheep They Bide, which is the opener).

Let’s start with the sets of tunes because that’s when most of the excitement would seem to be generated, and most of that comes from the attacking flute playing of Sally Gay who links well with the mandolin of Charlie Smallwood. All the tunes are Irish and are played with a feeling of authority and authenticity. The set of jigs are all sourced from noted Irish players. The set of reels starts with Hare Island, a composition by the famed Quebec-based whistle player, Lawrence O’Hearne. This sounds like a re-working of The Mason’s Apron, so when that tune pops up as the end of the set it feels pleasingly neat. Best of all are the three excellent but little heard slip jigs which segue well into one another with Charlie double-tracking in places on whistle and mandolin.

The songs are interpreted by the enjoyable voice of Gaynor Brook and they are well chosen. She has a good approach to both ballads, The Dowie Dens Of Yarrow and Lady Margaret.
The Heron
turns out to be the Corpus Christi Carol and is handled well. Another song, The Chaps Of Cocaigny, is not widely sung despite it being known through being published in the collections of Cecil Sharp. The Irish version, The Boys Of Kilkenny and the Scots version, Bonny Udny are both widely sung. The excellent tune and thoughtful treatment that it is given here show the worth of the English version.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 144 of The Living Tradition magazine