CHRIS RICKETTS & MARK WILLSHIRE – Simple Folk (Hobgoblin HOBCD1012)

The combination of guitar, bass guitar and vocal should be recognisable to anyone old enough to remember the glory days of Bob Fox and Stu Luckley, a void now filled by Portsmouth based duo Chris Ricketts and Mark Willshire. Well, on paper it should work but unfortunately without the addition of extra instrumentation that was afforded Fox & Luckley and their trademark harmonies I must admit this CD left me wanting something more substantial. That’s not to say the vocal performance by Ricketts isn’t good, (particularly on the soulful Florence Reece anthem “Which Side Are You On” and Jack Forbes shanty style “Rolling Down The River”) it is, it’s just that everything tends to sound the same after a few tracks and, as is the fashion these days if you have a tendency to let your oral performance drift into territory employed by the likes of Jim Moray, personally I feel it’s been done before. Having said that, another thing I can’t fault is Chris’s guitar accompaniment that works extremely well on a sparkling rendition of the old chestnut “Haul Away Joe”. I’m sorry I couldn’t have been more positive about this review but perhaps with a little tweak here and there and with extra musicians added to the pot their next album (and I hope there is one) should prove a corker.

PETE FYFE

Artist Web link: http://www.rickettsmusic.com/

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