Our admiration and respect should go to Paul Adams at Fellside Recordings for yet another coup. Not only did he manage to promote and nurture a certain Spiers & Boden burgeoning recording career but it now looks like he might have hit bulls-eye again with young whippersnappers Russell & Algar. Opening with the ever popular tale of “The Two Magicians” with its shape-shifting (remember Disney’s Mad Madam Mim & Merlin in “Sword In The Stone”) miscreants the duo inject good humour and a swinging style that comes across in a rippling tsunami performance that I haven’t heard since the days of Fox & Luckley. From an instrumental point of view I hope that Ciaran’s dynamic fiddle showcase of established chestnuts including “The Clumsy Lover Set” will inspire a new generation to engage with the ‘tradition’ and not totally rely on clever but ultimately anodyne self-compositions. Having said that, its Russell’s well researched choice of contemporary songs including “Love Is Life”, “The Dancing” and his own not inconsiderable title track that shows a maturity beyond his years. There’s plenty here to keep those of us of a certain age entertained (“Ashokan Farewell”, “Icarus” and “On Raglan Road” etc) with a knowing, affectionate smile whilst Greg and Ciaran have a certain instinctive edge that will engage a younger audience. Not to harp on too much about ‘youth’ being on their side but if this intuitive, personable duo can maintain their up-beat attitude as much as they have displayed on this album it will perhaps come as no so surprise that our antiquated ‘scene’ is in safe hands.
Release date – 20th August 2012
“I have to admit that I was astounded at the power of Greg’s voice coming from someone of such slight stature, coupled with clear diction and the emotion that the song deserved.” Topic Folk Club
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Artist’s website: www.russellalgar.co.uk