‘Stocking Fillers’ from Belshazzar’s Feast(October 05, 2012)
You can always guarantee quality from Paul Sartin (oboe/cor angais/violin and voice) and Paul Hutchinson (accordion) - that's ‘Stocking Fillers’ from Belshazzar’s Feast. Like a pared-back acoustic version of the Albion Country Band (who I first heard doing this sort of stuff) the lads certainly know how to put your laughing gear into action especially if you take the time to read their enjoyable sleeve notes.
Not only do they prove great raconteurs but their studiously rendered music is a joy to behold. Being aimed at the Christmas season I could certainly hear (and see) in my mind dandily dressed young men and Victorian corseted women kissing under the mistletoe and the odd spot of mulled wine as if taken straight from the pages of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol…mind you, you won’t hear a “Bah humbug” from me.
Amongst some familiar renderings such as the ‘Sussex Carol’ backed by the superb Andover Museum Loft Singers they include ‘Playford’s Christmas Ball’ coupling just the minor melody of ‘Nonesuch’ with (believe it or not) a very authentic Russian sounding ‘Kalinka’. There is obviously a lot of love, care and attention poured into this recording and their enthusiasm will be well met by anyone uttering the words Yo Ho Ho or enjoys watching Richard Attenborough in Miracle On 34th Street.
You can find ‘Stocking Fillers’ on Unearthed Records EARTHOL003.
Reviewer: Pete Fyfe