This book includes a plain text version that is designed for high accessibility. To use this version please follow this link.
111 f


multi-instrumentalist Luke Plumb deserves his equal billing, producing a lovely sound which he knits into cohesive form for a song cycle lauding the unlauded. Sure, there’s a sense of misty-eyed romance in the canonisation of such unsung heroes, but Irvine will always get away with this – he knows exactly how to wrench every drip of emotion in these stories without ever sounding maudlin.


Plumb himself plays some mean man- dolin, guitar and bouzouki and is joined at various points by some heavy hitters (John McCusker on fiddle and flute, Mike McGoldrick on flute and whistle, Rens Van Der Zalm on guitar and fiddle, James Mackin- tosh on percussion, Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton on vocals) through recording ses- sions in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England and Holland between 2016 and 2017. The sto- ries are interspersed with tasteful tune-mak- ing – including Luke Plumb’s poignant but majestic A Tune For Angus in homage to his late musical collaborator Angus R Grant.


An album, then, of detail, intimacy and


sincerity, which doffs a loving cap to working class heroes. Irvine has long confirmed his place as one of Irish music’s all-time greats and his reputation goes up yet another notch with this collection.


Hear a track on this issue’s fRoots 69 compilation andyirvine.com Colin Irwin


ALDEN, PATTERSON & DASHWOOD By The Night AP&D


Last summer, this young trio from East Anglia turned heads at festivals with their brand of Americana-tinged folk, as they showcased music from their debut album Call Me Home. Now Christina Alden, Alex Patter- son and Noel Dashwood


return with this second offering and it shows exactly why so many people have been sitting up and taking notice.


It’s an altogether more rounded collec- tion than their first, showcasing three immensely talented musicians who have set- tled into their sound and know exactly what they’re all about. There’s not a weak one among the ten tracks, as their close-harmony singing and sensitive playing dance around the songs, effortlessly blending folk, Ameri- cana, country and a smattering of blues.


Stand-out moments include Red Rocking


Chair (a hit at those festivals), which sees the trio singing in close-harmony before break- ing into an accompanied version of the song, during which Patterson’s violin and Dash- wood’s dobro come to the fore; and Kingfish, which gives Christina Alden’s exquisite voice a chance to shine. Make no mistake, Kingfish is an ear-worm; I challenge you to listen and not catch yourself singing it to yourself as you pack your shopping into the boot of the car.


One of the most appealing things about this trio is the ‘home-made’ feel that they take great care over. The album is beautifully packaged in a way that makes it feel special: an unassuming cardboard sleeve, lovingly hand-numbered, with a delightful pop-up bit in the middle. They’ve taken time over this, crafted it, loved it. And when you listen, you’ll love it too.


Mark my words… a trio to get excited about. Hear a track on this issue’s fRoots 69 compilation.


aldenpattersonanddashwood.com Ant Miles VARIOUS ARTISTS


Listen All Around: 1950s Popular Music From The Congo, Tanganyika, Zanzibar & Kenya Dust-to-Digital DTD 52


You’ve just read the subtitle and clocked the label releas- ing it and you already know you want this, don’t you? So you’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t just look good on paper. Our favourite, state-of-the-art re-issue label has done it again.


In a way this one sits as a nice supple-


mentary/ follow-up to 2011’s fRoots Critics’ ‘Best Packaged Album Of The Year’ winning set Opika Pende: Africa At 78 rpm. Its two CDs are presented in a typically beautifully- produced 84-page hardback book, with extensive overviews, individual track notes on the music and the artists from compiler Alex Perullo, and lots of historic pho- tographs of the musicians and the recording unit at work.


So what’s it all about then? Well, the subtitle gives a good clue. These are record- ings, all but two made by the celebrated field-collector Hugh Tracey and his team (see fR 282), from the post-war years leading up to independence for many of the former African colonies of the European powers. Sol- diers had returned from WW2 with instru- ments; gramophone records (and radio) were making an increasing impact, spreading the influence – aided by migrant work patterns – of different regional styles and imported genres like Cuban son and American country music (but also European folk, dance band and military music as well).


Jean Bosco Mwenda – from Listen All Around


Although Tracey was first and foremost wanting to collect local traditional musics, the record label Gallo who funded his trips were more interested in the growing popular musics of Central and Eastern Africa which thus, not unreasonably, had commercial potential. So what you hear clearly are the early acoustic roots of what would eventually become massive and influential popular styles like Congolese soukous and Kenyan benga in particular. The main thrust is on acoustic guitars, vocals (increasingly in har- mony) and percussion – typified by the one track here from the well-known Congolese guitarist Jean Bosco Mwenda accompanied by glass bottle clave percussion and two extra vocalists. You can also hear how traditional instrument sounds are translated onto guitar: Ezekiel Kamenga & Luba Men’s Kilio Mama must be the earlist recorded example of “mbira guitar” – so convincing I actually thought it was the real instrument, and pre- dating Jonah Sithole of the Blacks Unlimited by several decades.


There are also a few bigger dance bands and just a smattering of traditional instru- ments. Bakia Pierre’s five-string kundi harp captivates, as does the chepkongo six-string lyre on an alternative take of the famous Kip- sigi Girls’ Chemirocha tribute to Jimmie Rodgers (whose name is unfortunately consis- tently mis-spelled in what is otherwise a long, detailed and fascinating background note to this particular legendary recording).


Anybody interested in the earlier roots of the great East and Central African electric band musics of later years needs this killer set in its beautiful clothing.


dust-digital.com Ian Anderson


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96  |  Page 97  |  Page 98  |  Page 99  |  Page 100  |  Page 101  |  Page 102  |  Page 103  |  Page 104  |  Page 105  |  Page 106  |  Page 107  |  Page 108  |  Page 109  |  Page 110  |  Page 111  |  Page 112  |  Page 113  |  Page 114  |  Page 115  |  Page 116  |  Page 117  |  Page 118  |  Page 119  |  Page 120  |  Page 121  |  Page 122  |  Page 123  |  Page 124  |  Page 125  |  Page 126  |  Page 127  |  Page 128  |  Page 129  |  Page 130  |  Page 131  |  Page 132  |  Page 133  |  Page 134  |  Page 135  |  Page 136  |  Page 137  |  Page 138  |  Page 139  |  Page 140  |  Page 141  |  Page 142  |  Page 143  |  Page 144  |  Page 145  |  Page 146  |  Page 147  |  Page 148