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MARCH 03 - Stirrings "The Silverlode"

Tom Napper has been well known on the folk scene for a long while, working with Dab Hand, Gina Le Faux, Ciaran Boyle and many others. Tom Bliss started out at the same time (early '70s) but took a different route and has only relatively recently returned to acoustic music. This is their first recording together, and they complement eachother nicely, sharing duties on guitars, mandolin and vocals. The material is a mix of songs and tunes traditional, like the Newry Highwayman and the Blue Cockade, and tending to a brisk, upbeat delivery, though the harp air Miss Hamilton is given a suitably measured treatment on octave mandolin and mandocello; and modern, written mainly by Tom Bliss. These latter are made in the "contemporary folk" style: Narrative and inclined to a slower pace. He deals with silver-mining on Sark, an imaginary biography of his violin, a curious wartime story, and more, with no small ability. No doubt some of these will soon be picked up by other singers. He also turns out to be a very able composer and player of dance tunes in the traditional idiom. A welcome release, then, from this new musical partnership. Watch out for them both, too, with their bands: Napper with The Idle Road, and Bliss with Slide.

Malcolm Douglas Stirrings.

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