ROB HARBRON & EMMA REID – Flock & Fly (own label ROBRECD002)

Flock & FlyFlock & Fly is the second album from Rob and Emma and I have to confess that the first one escaped me. Rob Harbron is a musician with a hand in so many projects, particularly where Sam Sweeney is involved, while Emma Reid is best know here as a member of Methera but also works in a least six other combos both in the UK and in Sweden where she now lives.

The album was recorded in Sweden and is mostly traditional drawing from both shores of the North Sea. The geographical exception is ‘Pretty Saro’ which is coupled with the wonderfully titled ‘Shove The Pig’s Foot A Little Further Into The Fire’ as one of two tracks which feature Göran Wennerbrandt on Weissenborn guitar. The division of the spoils is even-handed with each player sometimes playing support to the other’s party pieces and the lead often switching between concertina and fiddle as a set moved from one tune to another. So Emma’s viola adds depth to Rob’s ‘November Waltz’ for example and Rob plays some guitar but usually it’s the main instruments underpinning the lead or playing pure duets – the ‘Polkas’ set is particularly fine.

We don’t often hear Rob Harbron singing lead but he pops up unexpectedly on ‘Master Kilby’ which segues from ‘Da Unst Bridal March’. Having lulled into a false sense of security he returns almost at the end of the album to sing ‘Pretty Saro’. He has a warm unaffected voice and I would suggest that he shouldn’t continue to hide this particular light under a bushel.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ websites: www.robertharbron.co.uk / www.emmareid.se