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Gerry ColvinGerry Colvin
Album: Back & Forth
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

Fresh from a triumphant set at Cropredy, Gerry Colvin and his band, core members accordionist Trish Power, guitarist Lyndon Webb and bassist Jerome Davies, augmented by fiddle player Michael Keelan, Jack Keelan on cello and drummer Paul Johnston, follow up last year's 'Six of One Half A Dozen of the Other' with a collection that almost mirrors that title in that it features six re-recordings by popular request and five new numbers.

One comes from his first solo jazz album Jazz Tales of Country Folk, 'The Ninth Song' featuring a clever half full/half empty lyric about a song near but not at the bottom of a top ten selection. The others are drawn from the Colvin Quarmby releases, A Short Walk To The Red Lion providing both the urgent 'One More Week' and a fuller arrangement of the celebration of the common man anthem 'I Am The Bell' (here simply 'The Bell'), Keelan's fiddle duly to the forefront. From Beth's Electric Birthday comes the ineffably lovely 'Watching Feathers Fall', a gentle rework that gives the acoustic guitar more prominence with Power on backing vocals, as well as 'The House of the Rising Sun', a powerful number about mental illness that swaps the original's guitar replaced for double bass.

And old song with a new title, sea shanty 'The Tragical Conceit of Captains Millbank and Kat' is actually 'The Ghost of the Black Lion' from the QVC album, the story about pirate captain Cutlass Kat, who, in her alter ego as Lady Fair, seeks revenge on Captain Millbank, the man who cost her a treasure, by winning his heart, only to find herself falling in love but unable to reveal the truth. Apparently, some regulars at the Newquay pub around which it's based believe it's actually all true.

One of the new tracks opens the album, 'Fate's Fast Car' being a strummed country folk strummer song mementos and memories followed in turn by the scratchy guitar and accordion of 'Light of the World', an anthem to optimism complete with swelling chorus. 'Someone Else's Shoes' harks to the Latin colours of 'South American Dream' from the first Colvin Quarmby album, before they slow it down for the Jim Reeves- flavoured ballad 'The Man That She Left You For', the narrator's confession about being the cause of his best friend's break-up. Which leaves 'The Neverendum', an accordion and fiddle-led jig with the vocals falling over themselves, each chorus adding an extra line in a number that reflects popular cynicism about the voting system, or as he puts it, "did you ever get the feeling putting a cross in the box that you already know that the cause is lost?' Phil Beer no less has declared Colvin to be "unique and unforgettable" and that "the songs are brilliant." Absolutely. On the sleeve it says Gerry Colvin will return in 'Fully Functioning Wind Up Mechanism'. The clockwork is ticking, bring it on.

Mike Davies