Hebe Music HebeCD004
Tracklist: The Girl I Left Behind Me / Bobby Shaftoe / The Blackwall Tunnel; Lena; The Indian Queen; On Humber Banks; Waltz Suedoise; Jeanette and Jeanotte / Joe Yates Polka; Will the Weaver; The Radstock Jig; Molly Bawn; The Cuckoo Waltz; Polka Ste Rose / The Soldier's Dream.Oh yes!
Duck Soup are: Dan Quinn - one and two-row melodeons and vocals; Ian Kearey - piano, harmonica, bass, mandolin,12-string Dobro, Adam Bushell - marimba, triangle, guitar, mandolin.
It's a little difficult to know where to start with this - there's so much to enjoy. So let's start with enjoyment; I defy you to listen to this CD without a smile on your face most of the time. Not that there's anything overtly funny about it, but rather that it's played with such good humour and there's so much musical monkey-business going on that you just have to grin. This will be no surprise to anyone who knows Dan Quinn, or remembers what a fun-monkey Ian Kearey is. I've never met Adam Bushell myself, but I guess that anyone prepared to cart an enormous marimba around after these two must be able to see the funny side of things, too.
Then there's the choice of instruments; melodeon and marimba work very well together, Kearey is a great pianist, and whilst the presence of a slide 12-string Dobro may surprise some people, just remember that Ian Anderson was there 25 years ago with the ECBB ... or that Bob Cann had a Hawaiian guitar in the Dartmoor Pixies back in the '60s. Here's an except from Lena - a schottische to give you an idea of what's going on.
The selection of tunes is also a delight, and whilst most of the titles will be familiar to many readers, I found that almost all were in versions I'd not heard before, or include those little personal twists and turns which make an old tune sound fresh and new. The three songs also come from less-than-usual sources; On Humber Banks and Will the Weaver are from Scan Tester's mate Rabbidy Baxter, and Molly Bawn - treated in an almost Country style that she herself would doubtless appreciate - is from Maggie Murphy.
Last, but by no means least, this CD shows just how good Dan Quinn is as a melodeon player. I've known him for more than 30 years and have admired his playing all that time - but I don't think I'd ever realised that he was quite as good as this. When confronted with this embarrassing appraisal, he said that playing with musicians as good as Ian and Adam simply brings out the best in you. Typical of the man!
I won't dwell on the often almost illegible liner notes, except to lament their brevity - they tell us just about all we need to know, even if we do have to wince at the colour choices! Oh yes - and the music is all beautifully arranged and recorded, too.
This is a splendid CD - and absolutely perfect music to play in the car as you head off for a summer of fun! You'll not regret buying a copy from the usual sources, or direct from Dan at: email@example.com
Rod Stradling - 1.6.05