Orpington Folk Club
CD Review
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The Bismarcks

Joanna Traditional dance music from England EFDSS CD10

This CD, due for release in April, is the second from this popular ceilidh band. (There can't be many festival goers who haven't moved to the music of Ed Rennie, Nina Hansell and Gareth Kiddier). They describe themselves as `small but perfectly formed the sound being `greater than the sum of the parts'.
The CD seems (not surprising) oriented towards dancers. There are 14 tracks of traditional tunes arranged in pairs or played singly. The dance type is also given. So you have indications like 32 bar marches x8 which means that you could do 8 turns through a march type dance.
The playing is clipped, precise and tightly controlled, with the fiddle and melodeon almost merging into one instrument. They are ably supported by the bass and rhythmic chords of the piano - so no stodgy drums and heavy bass! (Disappointing if you like to blast it out on your car stereo).
In the `English' style of playing there are no `diddly diddly' jigs or fast reels but within these limitations they do pretty well. Many of the tunes are new to me - so I'll probably be borrowing a few for my next music session.
They are joined by guest concertina players Sheena Masson and Ralph Jordan for `The Mudgee Schottische'. The `bonus track' is a live recording of Simon Ritchie leading `You push the damper in and you pull the damper out'.

www.thebismarcks.com

Ivan North.

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