What is it about Billy Mitchell and Bob Fox that makes you wish everyone in the world were a Geordie? On the strength of this striking album it’s the feeling of camaraderie that is inherent in each song and the obvious good-humour that runs like a seam of ‘black diamonds’ throughout the recording. Starting with “The Shoemakker” (surely a spelling mistook) followed by “The Pitman And The Blackin’” from their region of God’s own country it establishes the duo’s credentials for the traditional personality inherent from their North-East up bringing. In keeping with the locality, the inclusion of Mark Knopfler’s far from cheesy “Sailing To Philadelphia” and the anthemic “Why Aye Man” (the theme from Auf Widersen Pet) are prime examples of being proud enough to wear your heritage firmly on your sleeve. As part of their established sound Billy more often than not utilises his trusty Guild 12-string guitar adding a resonant ringing depth in much the same way Celtic bands use Bouzouki. It’s a glorious sound enhanced by the mandolin and guitar interplay on the only tune set “Off To Kefalonia/Spanish Misfortune” complete with minor key ending so reminiscent of a performance by the much missed Jack The Lad. Personally speaking my CD collection would be incomplete without the performances of these two guys and a damn sight less colourful. For those of us that have had the pleasure of listening to Bob and Bill over the years this album will prove a must purchase item. Here’s to the next one!
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