Recording Reviews

From The Folknik Sept/Oct 2000

Note: All three of Kate Long’s recordings (her Bigolady was reviewed in the last folknik) can be had through <>. Click on main menu, then scroll down to Singers and Songwriters.

The Limeliters—Until We Get It Right

Crescendo Records, <>

Rick Dougherty forwarded the following review of the Limeliters’ latest CD by Sonny Ochs. Rick also says … "just for your information, the Limeliters have a website now at The CD is available on-line from us as well as from CDNow and Collectors' Choice Music"

I hardly ever post anything because of an extremely busy non-stop schedule, but I do have to take time out to sing the praises of the Limeliters. I know, you think they went out with the 60's. Well, I've seen them live in concert twice this year, and both times, they had the audiences in their pockets. The current configuration of the group is Bill Zorn on banjo, Alex Hassilev on guitar, and RickDougherty (tenor) on guitar.

I also bought a copy of their latest CD, which is one of the best CDs I've heard in a long times—and I hear LOTS of them!! It has humor, great harmonies and musicianship, and wonderful new arrangements of old songs. In the humor category I loved Generic Up-Tempo Folk Song and Folk Rap. In the oldies category, I loved A Place In The Choir and Circle.  Of course, being a little prejudiced, I really love their version of Power and Glory. If you're not ashamed to admit that you love the old stuff, go for it! You'll play it over and over. Boy, I sure sound like a commercial, don't I? Enjoy!                  

- Sonny Ochs

Northumberland Rant:  Traditional Music From The Edge Of England

Smithsonian Folkways 40473

I was attracted to this album by the geographic origins of its music, without having a clue as to what a "rant" is. You have to dig deep into the album notes to find out. Smithsonian provides an extensive, 33-page booklet de-scribing the Northumberland border region, its small pipes tradition, and the performers presented here who were recorded in field research excursions in 1958, 1964, and the 1980s to early 1990s. But you have to read through wait to the notes on the third cut to find that a rant is taken from a local dance step.

Most of the tunes—jigs, reels, hornpipes, and the like—are played on Northumbrian smallpipes, but there are also fiddles, mandolins, concertina, piano accordion, mouth organ, and bass represented on the 21 cuts on this album. The Northumbrian smallpipes are the indigenous instrument of this region; they have a very sweet sound, quite different from the nasal quality of the Scottish highland pipes or the Bulgarian gajda. Several of the cuts begin with stories told by the musician in conversation with Burt Feintuch, Professor of English and Folklore at the University of New Hampshire and the field researcher whose work this album mostly is.  I like the variety of tunes presented here, the opportunity to hear at length—both solo and in various combinations—an in-strument with which I was not previously familiar, the voices of the players, and the extensive background in the liner notes.

- Dvora Yanow

Bending the Banshee’s Ear - The Tinker’s Own, Riverrun Records, PO Box 8823, Fountain Valley, CA 92728

Don’t let the fact that the Tinkers’ personnel are fluxing, deter you from getting this, their second recording. When this was recorded, the band consisted of Karen Curry on harp, vocals, concertina, and whistle; Steve Dulson on guitar and Appalachian dulcimer; Ben Russell and Catherine Kerry on fiddles; Michele Dulson on bodhran, vocals, spoons, dumbek, and flute; Tim Weed on fiddle and mandolin; Dan Dwyer on vocals and bones; June McIntire on hammered dulcimer and vocals; and Jack Wingard on flute and whistle.

The disk is well paced, so you’ll never get tired listening to it. The Tinkers seem to have three "primary" sounds—high and clear female vocals, interesting and varied instrumentals, and rollicking Irish boisterousness with plenty of percussion—which are put together in just the right combinations for individual pieces.

Ten of the 15 cuts are traditional songs (including good renditions of The Twa Recruiting Sergeants, Broom of the Cowdeknowes, Jack Dolan, and more than one verse of The Parting Glass), dance tunes, and medleys. The modern contributions include Karen Curry’s, Banshee Devil; Jez Lowe’s gorgeous and haunting The Bergen, John McMorrow’s Paddy’s Gate (a tribute to his uncle in Milltown, County Clare), and Steve Tilston’s The Slip Jigs and Reels, inspired by a photograph of a Wild West gunslinger with a fiddle strapped to his saddle!

It’s rare for me to want to learn more than one song from a recording, but I wouldn’t mind learning all four of these. You’d never (well, hardly ever) guess that most of these people are from Orange County (although you can hear the auld sod in heir voices). You couldn’t ask for a better recording than this to keep you awake driving or your body bouncing through whatever you’re doing all day long.

- Kathryn LaMar 

Waiting for review:

To review any of the following recordings, contact Rachel Levin at 415-695-9299 or and tell her which. She’ll send it to you, you review it, then send a 250-word review to either or, with a copy to Rachel, and keep the CD!

§         Analog Girl in a Digital World, Judy Gorman, One Sky Music

§         With Young People in Mind, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Smithsonian Folkways

§         Teacher Therapy, Judy Domeny Bowen, Round Top Barn Music

§         The Age of Possibility, Carrie Newcomer, Philo,  Rounder

§         Well May the World Go: Songs of Work, Love, Community and Hope, Larry Long, Smithsonian Folkways

§         Tuscola, Nathan Hamilton, Steppin’ Stone Records v Little Steps, Merrie Amsterburg, Zoe Records (Rounder)

§         What you whispered, David Wilcox, Vanguard Re-cords

§         Regrooving the Dream, Patty Larkin, Vanguard

§         The Heron Smiled, Annie Humphrey, Makoche Music

§         My Roots are Showing: Traditional Fiddle Music of Cape Breton Island, Natalie MacMaster, Rounder

§         Oh Mama—Plus, Kristen Lems, Carolsdatter Productions

§         Thrice Twisted Ballads, Margaret MacArthur, Whet-stone Records

§         Live, Ellis Paul, Philo

§         If You Lived Here You’d Be Home Now, The Nields, Zoe Records (Rounder)


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