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JOHN KIRKPATRICK "Mazurka Berserker" Fledg'ling FLED 3030

Over the years John K has worked with just about everyone, either appearing as fellow band-member, duetting, or simply guesting on their recordings. When that body of work is combined with his own recordings then his output is indeed prodigious, but he's still there making changes, trying new ideas. Here he collaborates with several 'guests', although it has to be said that several of the recordings were made without both protagonists being in the same room - or even on the same continent, but it doesn't detract from the quality. The mix of material comprises John's own tunes and songs, with traditional material, plus a few surprising 'flyers'. Who would have thought of John and Martin Carthy doing 'March Of The Siamese Children' from The King and I, or getting Richard Thompson involved in the 16th century tune 'The Dance Of The Jews: Lebedik un Freylekh' - an amazingly complex and demanding piece.

Rather more mainstream material has Nancy Kerr and James Fagan on 'The Bold Keeper', and Steeleye's Bob Johnson doing superb lecky guitar on 'There Stands A Cottage'. Some more excellent guitar comes from Kevin Dempsey on John's 'Tripping To The Quintles', a smashing triple hornpipe with a phrase of five bars rather than the usual four. Also musically unusual is 'The Citroen Took Unleaded After All', which is a waltz that works as a three-part canon, where John is aided and abetted by Alistair Anderson.

Other names on the guest list are Dave Swarbrick, on 'Nodrog's Woofing Waltz'; Ray Fisher on John's 'The Song Of The Weaver'; and Hijaz.Mustapha playing Vietnamese lap steel and bouzouki on the title track 'Mazurka Berserker'! In addition here are several solo pieces including 'Fain I Would' with John swinging the anglo concertina around his head to achieve a sort of Doppler effect, and 'Black Bess' a song from the story-telling of traveller May Bradley, and probably not one for over-sensitive horse lovers.

Even though some of the music is well outside the remit of traditional English it manages to sit comfortably with the rest. A tricky tightrope to tread, but JK's still up there on the wire, and this is a fine CD where despite the musical stature of his guests it is distinctly stamped throughout with John K's own immediately recognisable style.


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This album was reviewed in Issue 51 of The Living Tradition magazine.