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Album Review

2003 must be the year of Swarb. In addition to being celebrated with a four-CD box set, there's this newly recorded selection of material from his career, and wonderful it is, too. He's a delightful fiddle player, shining brightest when surrounded by only a few people. His technique appears casual and intimate, but even a quick listen shows him to be a master (try "The Pepperpot" for a glimpse of what he can do and make sound so easy). Above all, he loves a good tune rather than any flash — something typical of English fiddlers, really. And there are plenty of good tunes that he's written, from the lyrical "Boadicea," penned as a tribute to Sandy Denny, to "March of the Last," with its overtones of the Morris dance tune "Cuckoo's Nest." It's wonderful to hear him paired with guitarist Martin Carthy again, as he is for a couple of pieces here, including the classic "Carthy's March." And, since this is a greatest-hits collection of sorts, there's some material from his Fairport days, including "Crazy Man Michael" and "Rosie," done instrumentally, since he can no longer sing. But for a man who's had his obituary printed and had his life declared over a couple of times, this is a very lively collection indeed. Even at its richest (on "Miss Stevenson/Turnabout" with its full band), Swarb sparkles through. Marvelous stuff from a great — possibly even legendary — English folk figure.


Born: 05 April 1947 in New Malden, Surrey, England

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Dave Swarbrick was one of England's most influential fiddlers. As a member of Fairport Convention, between 1970 and 1979, Swarbrick was instrumental in the band's transformation from Byrds-style folk-rock band to its focus on updating the jigs and reels on Great Britain. While continuing to perform at the Fairport Annual Reunion Festival in Cropedy during later years, Swarbrick successfully explored a variety of outside projects as a soloist; a duo partner of Martin Carthy, Simon Nicol, Alistair...
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England Dave Swarbrick: English Fiddler, Dave Swarbrick
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