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Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick - Walnut Creek Live Recordings 1989-1996 (Fellside)

Star rating: 
3

Recorded over a six year period, Fellside's compilation of archive live recordings by one of Britain's most enduring and best loved folk duos, captures Carthy and Swarb in fine fettle, with a dozen songs and tunes borrowed from Dave Swarbrick's own personal archive. These recordings were made at amongst others, the Hitchin Folk Club, the Cedar Cultural Centre in Minneapolis and a couple of festivals in both Germany and Australia, with a good cross section of material from the duo's vast repertoire, not only from Carthy and Swarb's familiar collaborative body of work but also one or two from Carthy's own solo canon. Whilst Dominion of the Sword captures that moment in the late 1980s, when Carthy delivered some of his most passionate politically motivated anti-war lyrics, incorporated within this 17th century ballad and performed here about a year after the release of Carthy's mighty fine RIGHT OF PASSAGE solo album with Dave embellishing the recording with some intuitive mandolin playing, Porcupine Rag demonstrates the duo's sense of fun, with the inclusion of a false start here, familiar to anyone who has witnessed these two musicians in action over the forty-odd years of on/off collaboration. The songs cover a broad range chronologically, with the inclusion of Broomfield Hill, which first appeared on Carthy's debut LP in 1965, again with Swarb on mandolin, Arthur McBride and Peggy and the Soldier from Carthy's second LP, to the more contemporary (at the time of recording) The Sheepstealer, from the LIFE AND LIMB period, which the duo clearly enjoy playing judging by this recording. With insightful sleeve notes by Fellside'’s Paul Adams, WALNUT CREEK brings with it yet another taste of arguably one of the finest unions in British folk music.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky