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Folksound Records  FSCD78

Ceilidhography are a rousingly good dance band whose tunes come mainly from the English tradition but embrace Scotland and Ireland.  This 52-minute CD is on the Coventry-based Folksound Records label who also do for Peeping Tom.  Like the Peepers, they are not for the purists.  They describe themselves as a super funked up ceilidh band and are based in Shropshire and the West Midlands.  I missed them at Shrewsbury Folk Festival last August.  Had I known this CD was coming my way, my two left feet would have taken the floor. 

Sam Buckland (drums), Mathew Pearson (5-string bass), and Gerry Bailey (acoustic guitar) provide a solid platform for Simon Bannister (melodeon) and especially Mathew Keegan-Phipps (recorder and tenor sax) to strut their stuff. Simon excels on the Morris-influenced Jack Robinson / Cuckoo’s Nest and Edward’s / Ellie’s Waltzes (the first waltz written by him, the second by Andy Hornby).  Mathew gets the sweetest songbird tones I’ve ever heard from the humble recorder.  Blithe spirit!  His playing on tracks like Walter Bulwer’s No.2 / Speed The Plough is exceptionally uplifting. 

Too often for my personal taste, and frequently during the same set of tunes, Mathew sets down his recorder and puts the tenor sax to his lips instead.  The playing is good but the instrument brings out the jazz beast within.  Alongside the familiar trad tunes are Maidstone Hornpipe by Michael Raven, Malarky by Ian Wilson of Peeping Tom, and Jump At The Sun by John Kirkpatrick.

Dance bands are to dance to, and so are their CDs.  Ceilidhography demand that you take a twirl around your living room, with or without a partner, and end up flushed and happy.  So have a noisy night in.  They can’t lend you their caller Cate Bannister, but you’ll manage fine.

 Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.