This tremendous 2-disk, 3-album set by that quintessential fiddler Dave Swarbrick should be required listening and possibly one of the best boxed sets to grace any ‘folk music’ CD collection. Containing as it does his two ‘solo’ albums from the late 70’s and the excellent “Smiddyburn” (1981) the record company Beat Goes On [BGO] deserve a round of applause for releasing yet another ‘must have’ anthology. If you haven’t already got them (and why not?) the first two albums feature predominantly ‘acoustic’ sets whilst the third utilises the services of his band mates from Fairport Convention to buoy what to me is probably one of the best ‘instrumental’ albums in the ‘folk-rock’ genre. From a preference point of view and, although having made his mark for his flashy flourishes of Celtic brilliance it is the English personified Playford tunes “The Hole In The Wall” and “Once I Loved A Maiden Fair” that stand out from the crowd. Mind you, if it is the dazzling display of showmanship that you’re looking for I’d suggest you check out the sparkling three-handed mandolin arrangements jointly performed by Richard Thompson, Dave Pegg and Swarb on “Sir Charles Coote/Smiths” and “When The Battle Is Over” or the Japanese sounding “Ribbons Of The Redheaded Girl”. By the way if you’re wondering where Dave got some of his inspiration from check out the sadly now departed Beryl Marriott’s solo on “Lady Mary Hay’s Scotch Measure”…simply brilliant!
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