Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Black Socks Press Black26

Named after their love for Hitchcock films, Notorious is the working "band name" for these two musicians when performing as a duo; but this proves a bit of a MacGuffin in the end, for their reputations by all accounts remain unsullied! Larry's name may be familiar to those readers who are enthusiasts of dance, for he's written over a thousand tunes (mainly fiddle tunes and waltzes) over the past 20+ years and regularly plays for contra, waltz, swing and Scottish dances. As instrumentalist, he's a skilled fingerstyle blues, ragtime and slide guitarist and banjo player; he's accompanied many notable fiddlers including Alasdair Fraser, Matt Glaser and Rodney Miller, and recorded with Ginny Snowe as well as the Reckless Ramblers. But his current musical partnership with Eden appears made in heaven. For Eden is a versatile young violin player from Texas who has her roots in classical music but is readily and eagerly branching out into traditional, oldtime, jazz-swing and world-folk. And she's not a bad singer either, making a fine fist of anything she tackles, from '(Working On) The New Railroad' (on which she also plays viola) to the old Andrews Sisters' hit 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schön' and the blues chestnut 'Sitting On Top Of The World' (where she's ably backed by Larry's National Resonator guitar); shame she only gets three vocal outings!

If performing with any lesser musician, Eden's fiery and florid pyrotechnics might well threaten to overwhelm the exciting guitar fretwork, but this never happens with Larry and Notorious. Sure, her playing's often rather technique-driven, but it always remains primarily musical in its focus and impact. I find the oldtime-flavoured numbers especially scintillating. Larry's proven compositional skills are spotlighted on around half of the album's tunes, whereas Eden's own compositions (on the evidence of 'The Watermill' and the snappy 'Schottis Fran Palmer' here) are equally inspired, and, like Larry's, authentically idiomatic rather than pastiche. Just occasionally there may be hints that Notorious are a little restless in their wandersome eclecticism, but any such minor reservation need not concern the listener who's open-minded and keen to embrace a wide range of musical styles that are so sparklingly and engagingly played. A most delightful disc.

David Kidman

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine.