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ROSEWOOD - Rife & Strife & Mirth & Fun

ROSEWOOD - Rife & Strife & Mirth & Fun
Private Label

Rosewood is a trio comprising three friends from the East Anglian folk scene who have played for French dances and English ceilidhs for several years. Simon Haines, Phil Lyons and Val Woollard came together to sing and play back in 2014, and this CD presents an invigorating menu drawn from their collective repertoire, painting a pertinent portrait of their predilections (if you get my drift). In essence this means six purely instrumental tracks – mostly pairings of dance tunes – and six songs, with bang in the middle a track combining an Irish set-dance and a comic song made famous by the Flanagan Brothers. On the instrumental tracks, the three musicians demonstrate an easy mastery of different dance styles, moving from a 16th century Italian bergamasca to pipe tunes by James Hill, a set of Breton tunes and a sprinkling of originals by Simon himself. The vocal tracks tend to be on the chirpily upbeat side and, like the dances, chunter along nicely; Rosewood’s rendition of Arthur McBride is suitably rum-ti-tum, as is The Maid With The Bonny Brown Hair, while Erika Eigen’s “Clockwork Orange” hit I Wanna Marry A Lighthouse Keeper and Kirsty MacColl’s In These Shoes provide the necessary oddball quotient. Everything is dispatched with due relish, and boldly sung, while the trio’s ensemble sound is colourful and confident with a wide choice of instrumentation (melodeons, concertina, bandoneon, guitar, bass, ukulele, recorders, bagpipes, sax, flute and dulcimer) deployed imaginatively in the studio setting. The album title is aptly chosen, then.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 121 of The Living Tradition magazine.