This one seemed to slip under the folk radar a little when it came out in 1998 – and although it is still available never seems to be discussed as a part of any of the participants work, which is a shame as it is a fine little album in its own right. If you don’t know, Wood is Chris Wood, formerly of duo with great box player Andy Cutting, Wilson is Roger, fine singer fiddler and guitarist who has played with many including accordianist Karen Tweed and the House Band, and who was for a while on stage in Warhorse, and finally Martin Carthy who surely needs no such introduction.
So what do we have here? In many ways its a perfect collaboration, each player brings his own strengths to the table and complement each other perfectly. Tunes can have any combination of three guitars, two fiddles, mandolin, and three fine vocalists. Each takes a turn on a number of songs and all combine to great effect on the instrumental selections.
Chris Wood takes the lead on the spiritual You Must Unload, quirkily philosophical Taoist Tale and the cut-down epic Lord Gregory (and what a fine song this is – surely worthy of a post on its own – watch this space!),a fine precursor of the version on his later solo Lark Descending. Roger Wilson has his own Ultrasound, a fine variant on the trad Two Sisters and his own words and reworking of Robert Frost in Indian Tea.
Martin Carthy leads on the opening absurdity, Six Jovial Welshmen, and is persuaded to revisit his earlier definitive version of Scarborough Fair with a finely haunting new take, with his third piece being a newer version of courting song, Billy Boy, cheerily updated from his Sweet Wivelsfield version.
All three combine to great effect on the tune sets, a magnificent, stately twin fiddle / guitar Glorishears, and Young Collins. Morris tunes never sounded so good.
Thanks to the great BristolRon for this!