A Most Particular Vintage
Bosun Higgs is an English Country Dance Band who's members are Carly Rose (percussion), Keith Holloway (melodeons), Martin Banks (banjo and autoharp), Neil Gledhill (bass saxophone) and Taz Tarry (fiddle) all of whom have a long established musical pedigree. They play mostly for English dances and ceilidhs and certainly have the 'oomph, swing and lift' as mentioned in the release notes that is required to get everyone dancing!
Now what about this CD as a purely listening medium? Well, let's start with the title 'A Most Particular Vintage' which, as those of you who know me, any reference to the grape is a good start!
The album opens with a jolly rendition of Fred Pidgeon's No. 1 and Babes in the Wood from the English tradition and setting the style and pace for the rest of the recording. With reference to the pace it could be said that many of the tunes are somewhat 'plodding' but remember these are dance tunes so any super fast playing that is normally associated with instrumentals is out of the question. Besides these are mostly English tunes so let's have some decorum please!
Variation comes with the waltzes Snowday Waltz and Dream Waltz which slow things down nicely and are newish compositions. Tracks which especially appealed to me were The Swiss Girl (traditional) and Prince Albert's Jig (written by Flos Headford a fine fiddler who is well known in the North) both of which have a lovely lilt to them. Also the intriguingly and amusingly named Wigan Peer (sic!) written by Keith Holloway is an appealing tune from the days when he played for a dance side that did clog step dancing. The collection of tunes rounds off nicely with Taz's Deed Polka and the traditional Double Figure 8 which is adapted from the Old Swan Band's version.
Overall there are 11 tracks comprising a total of 23 tunes which makes this a very good reference album for bands looking for material to add to their repertoire. It goes without saying that the playing throughout is of a very high quality and that the instruments blend very well together and also the recording is of the usual high quality from Doug Bailey at the Wild Goose studios.
Therefore, going back to my original question, the answer is 'yes', it is a delightfully cheerful album just for listening to. Available through the Wild Goose web site or at the bands many gigs.