John Spiers and Jon Boden - Bellow
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John Spiers and Jon Boden
Fellside (

cd cover I suppose using the words simplicity and accordion in the same sentence will raise eyebrows among those who see the squeezebox as a portable orchestra, a substitute for the real thing that one can sling on ones back. Perhaps, but English duo John Spiers (melodeon) and Jon Boden (fiddle) certainly know how to deliver a simple song with a bare minimum and still make it Bellow (Fellside). While they do add the occasional guitar or bouzouki (courtesy of Benji Kirkpatrick), the heart of this album is two singers and ace players going through a sometimes pedestrian set of tunes and breathing fire into them, so much so that the original tunes and the trads all merge into one bright, shiny new morning.
Tune sets like "Sloe Gin" literally roar out of the speakers, while vocal ballads like "Prickle Eye Bush" and Peter Bellamy's "Courting Too Slow" take on new life in their hands. They are often compared to Robin and Barry Dransfield, but there is a simmering force behind everything they do, a restrained power that I would say invokes Pete Morton's approach to an epic ballad, elegant but with a hint of teasing brutishness. It's a quality that one has by nature rather than develops by choice. These two were born to this stuff, and in their simplicity, deliver it with a vibrant energy born of close familiarity. - CF

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