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Maestoso: Fiddling Meanly

Maestoso is the on again/off again band led by Barclay James Harvest keyboardist Woolly Wolstenhome. Fiddling Meanly is a live document of Maestoso's performance at The Mean Fiddler in London from 2004. Hot off the heels of the critically well received One Drop in a Dry World, Woolly and his band perform a variety of songs from his prolific past but surprisingly little from One Drop in a Dry World.

As Fiddling Meanly is a soundboard recording, one should expect an imperfect mix; sometimes the drums overpower the (raggedy) vocals, the guitars are drowned out by the mellotron and so on. But the CD remains listenable due to the fine laid back performance of the band, not to mention the lightheartedness frequently missing from a typical Woolly Wolstenhome outing.

Having said that, Fiddling Meanly will probably be of most interest to seasoned Barclay James Harvest fans. The setlist is hardly a greatest hits compendium and instead focuses on lesser known material from the old days such as "In Search of England", "Early Morning" (dedicated to recently deceased Barclay James Harvest drummer Mel Pritchard) and "Poor Wages". The most well known number here is "The Poet/After the Day" medley sans the orchestra from Barclay James Harvest and Other Short Stories. Many cuts from the ill fated Black Box era are performed and actually work better here than on the Black Box Recovered CD.

Even so, there is something missing. At just under an hour in length, I get the impression from Woolly's own sleeve notes that we're left with the songs that didn't suffer from technical difficulties that particular night. The end result is that Fiddling Meanly feels very much cobbled together. Overall, a nice addition to a Barclay James Harvest collection, but not essential.

Track Listing

  1. Abendrot
  2. The Bells, The Bells!
  3. Deceivers All
  4. Has to Be a Reason
  5. In Search of England
  6. The Iron Maiden
  7. Sunday Bells
  8. Poor Wages
  9. The Poet/After the Day
  10. The Will to Fly
  11. A Prospect of Whitby
  12. Harbour
  13. Early Morning
  14. Big Organ End

Added: May 6th 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Woolly Wolstenholme Web Page
Hits: 3283
Language: english

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