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LEVERET - Diversions  

LEVERET - Diversions  
RootBeat Records RBRCD42 

After their last album of new tunes, Leveret return to the old tunebooks and archive collections for 16 fascinating and oft forgotten pieces. Cutting, Harbron and Sweeney produce rich and rare arrangements of English music, but this CD has a more rhythmic and less rococo character than their previous three releases. There are some real toe-tappers here - Ellis Knowles' Number 7 and Drunken Barnaby push the envelope of pedestrian Playford dances, while Nelson Hornpipe sails well beyond Morris tempo. At the more restrained end of the Leveret spectrum, Enfield Common and Hessian Camp have a stately grandeur. Unanimity ups the ante to a definite swagger, a fine tune for ceremonial dance or even a bit of a bal folk.

The opening Bull Ring seems very familiar, from a Somerset fiddler's manuscript but closely related to the English Dancing Master, and the interplay between melodeon, fiddle and concertina is truly delightful. Molly Apple Pye is similarly enchanting, swapping the melody from hand to hand, adding harmonies and bass lines, turning a simple melody into a tour de force. The dark brooding untitled hornpipe which follows provides stark contrast, a sombre thread which is continued in the almost sepulchral Cherping Of The Lark and a rather unusual version of the well-known Irish lament, The Wounded Hussar. There is plenty here to thrill fans of English music, and to entertain anyone who appreciates a well turned performance by a trio at the top of their game, but best of all for me is the certainty that many of these dormant melodies will now emerge into the session scene, the dance halls and the folk clubs of the English tradition, and will be repeated and reworked by a new generation of musicians, as they deserve to be.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.