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Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches Banjo Nickaru & Western Scooches
Album: Very Next Thing
Label: On The Bol
Tracks: 10

Well the premise is this - take a collection of really well-known songs and give them the Gullah-Geechee treatment.

What do you mean you don't know what that treatment is?

Well, way back in the midst of time along the coasts of Georgia and Carolina in the US, drums were banned but fiddle and banjo were allowed, so musicians used their hands, feet, mouths and sticks to make percussive sounds.

This is an interesting collection of ten songs including two originals, which make up the Very Next Thing EP.

The majority of the songs are really well-known titles, such as Elizabeth Cotten's Freight Train, Fat Waller's Ain't Misbehavin' and the classic standard Sweet Georgia Brown.

It is a real melting pot of different instruments and sounds. Lead singer Betina Hershey is accompanied by excellent backing vocals from Miles Griffith. Percussion is wall wrapped up by Dr David Pleasant and bandleader Nick Russo takes care of the banjo and guitar duties.

The two original songs - one autobiography - have a jaunty bluegrass feel.

In fact the whole album has a an upbeat jaunty feel to it.

I particularly enjoyed You Are My Sunshine with Miles joining in with some vocal improvisation.

While the majority of these songs will be familiar, these arrangements are not.

Well worth a listen.

John Knighton