Rattle On The Stovepipe are Dave Arthur (5-string banjo, melodeon, guitar, vocals), Pete Cooper (fiddle and vocals) and Chris Moreton (guitar and vocals). They've already gained an enthusiastic folk club following with their mix of traditional songs, ballads and dance tunes from the British Isles and the Appalachian Mountains region of America. Their new (2006) CD, ‘Eight More Miles' (Wild Goose, WGS 333), looks set to spread their reputation more widely.
As Shirley Collins writes on the sleeve,
‘Dave, Pete and Chris are all master musicians, but there is no sense of ego, no promotion of themselves as stars, although they certainly can dazzle. They are completely at home with the music they love, and can switch comfortably from American to English songs and tunes... Both Dave and Pete have that rare gift of drawing you into a song. And Chris, who charms us all, will make you gasp in amazement and laugh out loud with delight when he plays something next to impossible on his guitar.
As you'll have gathered, I love them...'
Alan Rose writes:
...traditional songs and tunes from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean – sometimes consecutive, sometimes simultaneous, but always admirably explained in Dave’s peerless insert notes.
As well as talking the talk, Dave also plays guitar, melodeon and five-string banjo and sings, most notably on the riveting eight and half minutes of ‘Willie’s Ghost’. Pete Cooper is rightly described in the press release as ‘one of the very few players who can play convincingly in different styles’, an ability displayed in spades as the band transform the British 6/8 jig ‘New Rigged Ship’ into the staple Virginia reel ‘Green Willis’ (though Dave changing from melodeon to banjo helps the process no end). Pete also sings ‘The Lakes of Pontchartrain’, a prodigious Pond-crosser if ever there was one. Chris plays sensational guitar, and his solo song ‘Footprints in the Snow’ is another well travelled gem.
They do the classic string band line-up of guitar, fiddle, banjo and voices so well that I don’t want them to do anything else, but I realise that my taste for ‘old, weird Americana’ is a minority within a minority. Stovepipe’s treatment of British material is undoubtedly classy, and it makes a good wooden horse to advance the cause of Old-Time American music.