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A side of Chris I have not heard before and all can seem just a little “shouty”, but this may
the more enjoyable for that. Definitely worth well be a result of balancing the voice slightly
seeking out, I reckon. too forward in the mix since I’ve not noticed
that trait in Steve’s live performances. Which
Phil Thomas leads me to another important facet of this CD:
although it’s manifestly Steve’s solo record,
shot through with his distinctive musical
personality, only three tracks are performed
The Whirligig of Time
entirely solo with concertina; elsewhere,
Tradition Bearers LTCD1103
we’re treated to some superb contributions
from other musicians, and these give Steve’s
performances another dimension without in
any way undermining Steve himself – not an
easy trick to pull off (credit to producer Ollie
Knight here!).
In addition to the aforementioned Mr. Carthy
(his other appearance comes backing Steve on
a sensibly condensed Child ballad, Sir Colvin),
we encounter Gill Redmond (a gorgeous cello
part on Bonnie George Campbell), Nancy
Kerr, Miranda Sykes, James Fagan and Ollie
Knight; and Pete Flood drums along quite
deliciously through two tracks, one of which is
a spirited “reassessment” of Stephen Foster’s
The Glendy Burke. Perhaps my favourite of all
the guest contributions, though, is that of slide
guitarist Kevin Brown, whose own poignant
tune One Bad Link In The Chain forms a heart-
Steve’s name should strike a chord of
rendingly beautiful postlude to Steve’s rendition
familiarity in readers, if only of the “remember
of The Dry Cardrona.
him from… where has he been hiding?” variety.
Yes, Manchester-born Steve was a member
Steve’s self-confessed mission, to extend the
of Tyneside quartet Canny Fettle in the 1970s,
boundaries both of what might be considered
then made four increasingly well-received LPs
traditional song and of the potential of
for Fellside, after which he spent a dozen years
concertina accompaniment, is well realised by
away from the folk scene (building a violin-
the selection of material on this CD (and even
retailing business).
more so in his live performances, I might add);
the disc ends with an entirely credible setting
However, with folk music having a habit of
of Handel’s Where’er You Walk which (though
getting into one’s blood, it was perhaps
operatic arias aren’t everyone’s cup of tea) is
inevitable that Steve would return there sooner
unlikely to be bettered by any “folk” performer.
or later – which is fortunate for us. Since 2004,
This is a very fine CD indeed: Steve is still a
Steve’s returned to live performance and been
modest man, yet he maintains self-imposed
warmly welcomed, and now his recorded
high standards, which he certainly reaches
comeback couldn’t have been better timed,
here with this splendid comeback recording.
for the resultant album has found a natural
outlet on the Tradition Bearers label, home to
David Kidman
performers who are genuinely carrying on a
tradition and who have earned the respect of
their fellow singers.
Steve is a very strong performer, with
Own Label CPFCD003
a supremely confident style of playing
and singing. His chosen instrument for
accompaniment is the English concertina,
but he plays a model which is unusual in that
it has four buttons with “anglo” action (thus
extending the instrument’s range to 68 notes).
This accounts for the wonderfully full, complete
sound he obtains (you could easily be forgiven
for thinking Steve’s double-tracked on this
CD, but no he ain’t!); however, this richness
of texture may also partly derive from a
self-admitted influence of guitarists on his (self-
taught) playing. Steve puts his trusty concertina
aside just three times during the course of the
CD: to concentrate on singing The Rambling
Beauty (here he’s accompanied by Martin
Carthy), picking up the cittern to accompany
The Poor And Single Sailor and the tenor banjo
to augment The Brave Dudley Boys.
As a singer, Steve has a forthright and Duncan Chisholm’s reputation as a master of
passionate delivery, always displaying a clear the fiddle slow air has grown steadily since the
sense that he knows exactly where he’s taking release of his classic 1997 album Redpoint.
the song; occasionally on this CD the impact His new release Farrar, inspired by a mountain
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 
Issue80.indd 39 14/7/08 14:54:25
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