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Downhill all the Way - SLIP 007


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The Living Tradition SLIDE "Downhill All The Way" Slipjig Music SLIP007

Slide hail from Yorkshire so are off to a good start in the eyes of this reviewer. "Downhill All The Way" is, I think, their follow up to the well received "Slippery Slope" from a couple of years ago. Slide - or SlideUk to avoid confusion with another band-are a multi-instrumentalist outfit built around the talents of Tom Bliss and Derek Magee, although the rest aren't bad either. The CD mixes traditional and self-penned tunes with songs written by the band, following the tried and tested alternate tune/song pattern. The album has many influences but is steeped in tradition as can be seen from the track titles. The songs tell good stories which is something I always enjoy and mention must be made of the way the lyrics are intelligent and well-crafted. I am not going to fall into the trap of selecting favourite tracks as this changes on each play, but I like the idea of a violin telling it's story (a bit like writing about the life of a penny when I was at school) and the tragedy of the miner who, for love, became a Quarryman because mining was dangerous - only to be killed in an accident. "Downhill All The Way" was recorded in front of a live audience with a few bits added later, a bit strange really as there is no clapping. All I can assume is that Slide are a live band essentially, so didn't want to be hampered by the constraints of a studio. I think this CD should do well on the back of their live performances and hopefully I will be able to catch them live before long.

Dave Beeby, Issue 54, The Living Tradition

Netrhythms Slide - Downhill All The Way... (Slipjig Music)

It's been a short but immensely rewarding time for Slide since their first CD, and the band have negotiated the "slippery slope" of hard gigging and built up a very healthy reputation as one of the best live acts on the folk-roots circuit not only in their native Yorkshire but also further afield at folk festival stages. The band's second CD (The Slippery Slope itself), released in 2001, found them almost completely escaping from the clutches of the overt Show Of Hands influence that had dogged their early efforts, with a good mix of traditional and original material, taken from folk (songs and session tunes), country (including oldtime) and contemporary song. On the latter category, composing credits are shared more or less equally between band members Tom Bliss and Neil Russell Whitaker. Tom's compositions are of particular merit - they may already be familiar to you from his excellent recent duo album with Tom Napper, The Silverlode (that very song, together with The Violin, also appears here on this Slide album), whereas Neil's compositions are predominantly (tho' not exclusively) in the goodtime country mode (but none the worse for that!). The tune-sets once again come in either the straightahead-folk or old-time country idiom, being well-played and inventively-arranged session staples or else original tunes by Derek Magee. So as you will hear, Downhill All The Way... takes the aforementioned mix forward very credibly, building on the previous album's strengths while developing the band identity still further. This latter angle is more of an issue now, as Slide have since recruited a fifth member - Rod Taylor, who plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar and bodhran. Not only does he fill out the overall sound, at times enabling a twin-fiddle front line, but he also allows Derek's uillean pipes or whistle to come into their own and the resulting blend is magic; just take a listen to the great arrangement of Carolan's Young Katherine for instance. This new album was recorded in a live setting earlier this year, and the distinctive lively Slide presence is faithfully captured (take it from me). Slide impress wherever they play, in fact; a grand time is guaranteed.

David Kidman