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ROD STRADLING - Treacle & Bread 

ROD STRADLING - Treacle & Bread 
Ghosts From The Basement GFTB7059 

This album will please those who have known the massive contribution that Rod Stradling has made in furthering traditional music and song in these islands from the 1960s up until today. This compilation of 21 recordings made between 1971 and 2016 shows only one aspect of this: Rod playing dance music on his melodeon in bands with widely varying approaches to English dance music.

Rod’s approach always centred on learning from traditional singers and musicians whilst realising that new approaches and influences added an extra vitality. His punchy, vibrant playing has brought him wide acclaim and he has in his turn become a musician who new players want to learn from.

Rod has written the liner notes and has been able to choose the tracks in conjunction with producer, Ian Anderson. These two worked together in Tiger Moth and The English Country Blues Band; both are represented, as well as most of the other units that Rod has worked with. Also included are his recordings with Edward II And The Red Hot Polkas and the most recent one with Phoenix.

Three tracks would seem to have particular significance. Scan’s Polkas was recorded live by the four-piece, Oak, in 1971. In the few years they were together they pioneered an approach that looked to traditional singers and musicians for repertoire and style. Six years later, more polkas from another inspirational figure, Walter Bulwer, formed the opening track of the debut album by The Old Swan Band which was inspirational in the radical change of approach to social folk dance at that time. Thirdly, there are the two tunes which Rod has played for Bampton Morris, an association that has lasted over 30 years.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine