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TIGER MOTH 'Mothballs' The Weekend Beatnik WEBE9043

"Mothballs" is a mighty 24-track celebration of the recorded ups, downs, ins and outs that Tiger Moth undertook in the 1980s under the "Rogue Folk" banner. The hard core of Rod Stradling, Ian Anderson, Maggie Holland, Jon Moore, John Maxwell and Chris Coe or Ian Carter are augmented by loads of equally exotic musical guests to make these records, which are approaching their 20th birthdays. The records in question are mainly "Tiger Moth" (1984), and "Howling Moth" (1988) - I'll spare you the serial numbers.

They also made a single, which "didn't trouble the chart computers" as Colin Irwin so succinctly has it among his copious gatefold insert notes. I was attracted to this single ("Speed The Plough") by the name of Chris Coe on the sleeve - she seems to be incapable of getting involved with any musical project which could be described as "naff". And sure enough, this music was, is, and therefore probably always will be about as far from Naff as it's possible to be.

It's English melodeon-led dance music, but if the band don't want to follow they just go somewhere else in the same kind of key. The results are spectacular enough on record, where they ration themselves to three minutes per track. On stage, where they were playing one tune for 10 minutes or more, they must've been mind-blowingly spectacular. It was also a "wake-up call" for all the local, semi-pro dancebands that they should be lifting their heads and exploring their instruments a bit more. And if that isn't worth thanking them for then I don't know what is.

It is impossible to get through this review without using the word "essential".

Alan Rose

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.