STEVE TILSTON and THE DURBERVILLES – The Oxenhope EP (Splid Records CD009)

OK, so I nearly consigned this 5-track CD to the “don’t bother” pile. Perhaps I should explain…I hate half-cocked albums with only a few tracks and, for some reason becoming ever more popular with ‘folk’ artists. A lot of my mates, myself included feel cheated and after all, if you’ve only got half an album then why bother? Still, now that I’ve got that off my chest I’m pleased to report that this is a really nice recording. The reason I played it in the first place was to hear the dulcet tones and technically flawless guitar from the always excellent Steve Tilston. That he is joined by the equally impressive ‘country-ish’ sound of The Durbervilles; Lee Walker (12-string guitar), David Crickmore (banjo, mandolin & electric guitar), Mark Boyce (drums), Gus Taylor (accordion) and Ruth Wilde (double bass and bass guitar) with nearly all members contributing vocals really create an impressive wall of sound. From the subtle groove of the opening track “Oil And Water” to the up-beat Big Geraniums (remember them?) sounding “There She Blows” between them the ‘band’ manage to make every track count so perhaps I shouldn’t have been so dismissive in the first place but please, next time make it the full Monty! By the way, is it me or does anyone else hear a young Dave Burland (without the burr) in Steve’s voice or perhaps maybe I’m being a tad obsequious?

PETE FYFE

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