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HUSHWING - Foundlings 

HUSHWING - Foundlings 
Quanting QCD2003 

For the neatest succinct summary of what this band is all about, it would be difficult to beat their self-description: “Hushwing members are no longer young and we try to sound even older.” Like many English dance band musicians of their generation, they were inspired by recordings made that day in the 1960s when Reg Hall and Mervyn Plunkett drove Scan Tester from Sussex up to Shipdham in Norfolk to meet Walter and Daisy Bulwer.

Hushwing’s take on these tunes produces music that is lively, sparkling, exciting, firmly guided by the tradition and eminently danceable (though some dancers may find some of their waltzes rather fast). Reworking some of Sam Larner's song melodies as lively jigs is a brilliant idea. You would swear there is a brass bass underpinning it all, but no, it is a setting on the electronic piano providing this, with a single fingered left hand of vamping. The band’s great strength is their tight ensemble playing, but the brightness of what sounds like a mandolin-banjo stands out.

Their repertoire is drawn almost exclusively from the fine musicians of East Anglia and short biographies of the Bulwers, Harry Cox et al are included in the booklet; of course, in one of the band's fiddlers, Chris Holderness, they have a man whose research and essays on Norfolk musicians have been widely acclaimed.

Perhaps it needs to be borne in mind that this review is written by a person who has played in dance bands of this nature for over 40 years, who can happily listen to repeated playings of the 77 minutes on this CD of music by a fine band. Others may need a bit more variety.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 135 of The Living Tradition magazine