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Leverton, Jim and Geoff Richardson: End Of The Pier Show

Look at the title, and particularly the cover art that features Jim and Geoff with candy-striped blazers, canes and straw bashers doing a vaudeville-like prance down what looks like Brighton pier ... so you know what to expect on this record, right? Wrong.

Okay hangonasec - Leverton and Richardson are long-standing stalwarts of the timeless Cantebury progressive band Caravan ... so now you know what to expect, right? Wrong.

This is folksy and very English music - imagine a cross between Donovan and Strawbs's more straightforward numbers, with - perhaps - an occasional peppering of Lou Reed. These are laid back songs featuring acoustic guitar, Richardson's viola, as well as a flute, saxophone, and hedge clippers. No, really, hedge clippers! The opening track is called "Rhapsody For Hedgeclippers", and despite its odd title, it's an all instrumental piece with an upbeat rhythm that includes the sound of clippers. Actually - it sounds more like your barber's scissors. As the piece builds up there's a long flute solo, mournful notes from the acoustic guitar and the electric viola, and sound clips of birds (doves, waterbirds and fish eagles). And closing track "Rhapsody Reprise" bookends the album with another minute or so of the same basic instrumental - birds and clippers and all. This description may make it sound cheesy, but it's a strong piece and sets the mood for the rest of the record. There's a serious mood to the songs - not dark in any way, but somber in spots, and serious throughout.

In a conversation with Geoff Richardson and Jim Leverton in 2004 Richardson quipped that when he was young, a cheap viola sounded better than a cheap violin - which was how he settled on that instrument. It certainly sounds good on this album - a more gutsy sound than a violin, and it complements the tonality of the relaxed , vocals delivered in the a strong mid range

There's a mix of cover tunes and original material and one of the standouts is the cover of "Ride On" by Christy Moore (of Planxty). You've probably heard the song before - it's an easy-on-the-ear staple on so many Celtic music compilations, a serious ballad that benefits from the viola, that takes on a sort of French cafe meets Celtic style here. "BlueFin" is the duo's nod to American musical influences - another all-instrumental piece that features powerful bluesy acoustic guitar work, with an equally powerful electric viola over the top.

This is a song-oriented record with fairly fairly linear pieces, and certainly a departure from Geoffrey's work with Penguin Café Orchestra, and from Jim's bass work with , Juicy Lucy, Fat Mattress, Blodwyn Pig, Joe Brown and Steve Marriott; and of course, from both of their contributions to Caravan. It's only 45 minutes long - and although more content would have been nice, the short span of the album has you reaching over for the replay button to hear more.

Track Listing:
1. Rhapsody For Hedgeclippers
2. I Can Disappear
3. Marble Feet
4. Only Human
5. BlueFin
6. Say It Ain't So Joe
7. Ordinary Man
8. Ride On
9. Everytime It Rains
10.Rhapsody Reprise

Added: December 15th 2006
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Label's Web Site
Hits: 2370
Language: english

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