This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 4/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Is it my imagination or do Canadian folk musicians have a much deeper connection to their history and culture? Maybe it's simply a musical mirage but note some of the late Stan Rogers' releases and the best of James Keelaghan. In this tradition, if it can be called such, Ontario-based Tanglefoot indeed draws musical inspiration from local characters, events and folklore.
Comprised of Joe Grant on fiddle, Steve Ritchie on guitar, Al Parrish on upright bass, Rob Ritchie on keyboards and Terry Young on mandolin and guitar, Tanglefoot is an amped-up, rambunctious quintet. With all sharing vocals, they roll out rhythmic solos and tight harmonies, with musical backing that literally compels listeners to get up and move.
Human frailty, not evil, dramatizes "One More Night." A ship's captain makes a simple but ill-fated decision, resulting in his desperate need for a moment of grace. It never appears and a mine is doomed.
"Let the Piper Play" features a stirring chorus followed by a stunning description of the best of piping:
"...Let the piper play for the old and newContaining a delicious twist, "Pouring Days," is a tune about confiscated liquor being dumped down the drain of the local government house. Unbeknownst to the authorities, who have been careful to select a 12-year-old boy to do the pouring rather than a grown man who might be tempted to do some sipping, there is an alcohol recovery plan in effect. The song closes with:
to warm the waves of the ocean
let the piper play with no regret
play to remember, play to forget...
...So the piper plays what he knows best
the lover's cry and the dying breath
the drunkard's roar and the warrior's pride
the kiss of the wind and the rush of the tide..."
"...The Lord gives, the Lord takes away"The Floating Bridge of Ennismore" poses an ecclesiastical conundrum: which has greater sanctity--a curse cast on liquor or a blessing on a bridge? Listen and then decide.
same as the authorities down on Pictou Bay
they take away your liquor
they pour it down the drain
you tap into the drainpipe
and get it back again."
A rescuer of shipwrecked sailors, Abigail Becker is "The Angel of Longpoint." This Lake Erie heroine's tale must surely be one of few ever to depict women saving men.
Buxton, in southwestern Ontario, was the last stop on the Underground Railroad for escaping slaves. As metaphor, the tune "Buxton" serves up customs, mores, memories, flashbacks and the fine lines of separation within the definition of freedom.
This is a release which will inform, ingratiate and indict. Did I omit (i)njoy?
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