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Rattle on the Stovepipe


Rattle on the StovepipeDave Arthur (guitar, 5-string banjo, melodeon, percussion, vocals), Pete Cooper (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Dan Stewart (5-string banjo, guitar, fiddle, harmony vocals)

'The trio brings together two of the British folk scene's most admired veterans, Dave Arthur and Pete Cooper. Both have been members of leading bands and duos for decades now but never has either been heard to better effect than in this line-up. The third member is the much younger multi-instrumentalist Dan Stewart… one of Europe's leading Old Timey banjo players.'
- Vic Smith, fRoots


'Whenever Rattle On The Stovepipe are booked to play at my local folk club I'm first in the queue to make sure I get my seat in the front row. This engaging trio inspires in me the same devotion that old Virginia musicians like Wade Ward and Uncle Charlie Higgins do. There is that same sweetness, ease, subtlety and good humour, every song and tune so well understood, so deftly played and so perfectly paced. They 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.'
- Shirley Collins

Rattle on the Stovepipe

The band first got together in 2003 to explore the connections between British, Irish and Appalachian songs and tunes that passed back and forth across the Atlantic, carried by waves of immigrants and visitors - morris tunes that cropped up in the Southern Mountains as fiddle and banjo breakdowns, black-face Minstrel songs that took root in the Cotswolds in the nineteenth century, the classic folk ballads whose themes of love, betrayal, murder, revenge and adventure appealed equally to North Carolina mountain people, Scottish Travellers and southern English agricultural workers. Not making a fetish of the crossover idea, however, Rattle on the Stovepipe also play purely Appalachian and purely British traditional songs, ballads and tunes - in fact, whatever they enjoy, feel a connection with, can get inside and want to share with an audience. They have performed widely, including in France and Japan, as well as most years at Whitby Folk Week.

Released in 2017, Poor Ellen Smith is their latest album on WildGoose Records. Also available is Old Virginia (2014) and No Use in Cryin' (2008), while So Far So Good is a 2010 compilation of tracks from earlier albums Eight More Miles and Return Journey, featuring Dan's predecessor in the band, Chris Moreton, on guitar.


Dave Arthur
Dave Arthur

When not Rattling, Dave is a storyteller and writer. A veteran of the British folk scene, he was editor of English Dance and Song magazine for twenty years, receiving the EFDSS Gold Badge in 2003, and is the author of 'Bert: The Life and Times of A. L. Lloyd' (Pluto Press, 2012). Dave also plays melodeon in the ceilidh band Swallowtail with Dan and his sister Sarah Tadros, and with Shirley Collins as a member of the 'Lodestar' band. www.davearthur.net


Pete Cooper
Pete Cooper

Pete directs the London Fiddle School and is the author of book/CDs The Complete Irish Fiddle Player (Mel Bay Publications, 1995), Irish Fiddle Solos (2004), English Fiddle Tunes (2006), Eastern European Fiddle Tunes (2007), American Old Time Fiddle Tunes (2009) and New Fiddle Tunes (2013) for Schott Music. Much in demand as a workshop leader, he also performs solo and in a duo with cello player and guitarist Richard Bolton and with Shirley Collins as a member of the 'Lodestar' band. www.petecooper.com


Dan Stewart
Dan Stewart

Dan is a professional banjo, guitar, mandolin and whistle teacher in Brighton, and plays with his sister as Swallowtail and in the Sussex Cajun group, The Hotfoot Band. www.danstewartmusic.co.uk

For inquiries, bookings etc. please contact:

Dave Arthur
phone +44(0)7765 377 441

Pete Cooper
phone +44 (0)20 8340 7760 


'Re: Little Opry Saturday 30 May 2015
Well, what a crackin' night that was! We loved the two sets and thought you all had an extra sparkle last night. It just whizzed by. Loved the mixture of old and new material, Bill Dalton's wife is such a great song, very moving, and twin fiddlin' brill. More of that please. Great to do a bit of steppin' to such wonderful tunes. The Little Opry audience loved it – such nice feedback as they were leaving. Big thank-you, you did us proud.
Lesley & George & Alison & Gill


Rattle on the Stovepipe CDs

Poor Ellen Smith CD Cover
Poor Ellen Smith
WildGoose Records WGS419CD

1. Dead-heads and Suckers
2. Little Billy Wilson
3. Hang Me, Oh Hang Me
4. Swannanoa Waltz/Julianne Johnson
5. Poor Ellen Smith
6. Bonaparte's Retreat
7. Black Bottom Blues
8. Take me back to Georgia
9. Wild Bill Jones
10. Over the Mountain/Old Jimmy Sutton
11. Southern Soldier
12. Waiting for the Federals
13. The Devil's in the Girl
14. Rodeo Man
15. Stackolee
16. Walk Along John to Kansas
17. Blood Red Roses

Dai Jeffries of Folking.com
reviews Poor Ellen Smith by Rattle on the Stovepipe:

The title track is a classic murder ballad from Winston-Salem – a sort of American equivalent of Midsomer where Omie Wise also came to a bad end. 'Stackolee' came from further north in St. Louis, committing his crime on a particularly blood-soaked Christmas Day. More modern, and certainly less violent, is Bob McDill's 'Rodeo Man', a pure country song with a touch of melodeon to remind us that we're close to the Mexican border…
Arthur wrote two songs here. The first is 'Southern Soldier' which sounds very English and that's the point being made. At the time of the American Civil War the country was full of immigrants, few of whom were ideologues but were fighting for their own patch of ground. The second is 'Blood Red Roses', not the familiar shanty but inspired by Bert Lloyd's version from Moby Dick.

The top instrumentals include the well-known 'Waiting For The Federals', the twin fiddle attack of 'Walk Along John To Kansas' and the bouncy 'Little Billy Wilson'. The harmonica player front and centre of the cover picture, by the way, is the celebrated painter Jackson Pollock, pupil and band-mate of the artist, Thomas Hart Benton.


Derek Gifford of Folk Northwest
reviews Poor Ellen Smith by Rattle on the Stovepipe:

This is the third CD that I've had the pleasure of reviewing by this threesome of Dave Arthur (vocals, harmonica, melodion and guitar), Pete Cooper (fiddle, harmonica and vocals) and Dan Stewart (banjo, guitar and chorus vocals) collectively known as Rattle on the Stovepipe. I enjoyed the previous albums tremendously and this one is equally full of exceptionally well performed American 'Old Timey' music.

Among the 18 tracks are a number of well known songs including Hang Me, Oh Hang Me a version of John Henry, the familiar Black Bottom Blues and Wild Bill Jones where Pete plays a mean harmonica part and Stackolee where Dave is obviously enjoying singing the murderous lyrics. In fact there are a lot of murders and violent incidents in many of the songs refelecting the American Wild West's society at the time. The title track Poor Ellen Smith is well chosen in this respect.

There's also a song collected by Cecil Sharp called The Devil's in the Girl a classic song of seduction and abandonment which includes a well known tune in the links and two songs from the pen of Dave Arthur, Southern Soldier and a very interesting reinterpretation of Blood Red Roses which concludes the album.

There are also a substantial number of tunes on this album which illustrate clearly the empathy between these superb musicians. Of these I particularly enjoyed Little Billy Wilson which really drives along apace as does the well known Bonaparte's Retreat. The more lilting Take Me Back to Georgia is also a super performance. Great musicianship personified.

The album is further enhanced by a selection of photographs of the artistes and comprehensive sleeve notes which clearly show the amount of research carried out in finding the songs and tunes.

This is a must buy for those who enjoy this particular genre but I can also recommend it to those who might like to dip into 'Old Timey Music' because you'll be hard pushed to find better than this.


Ian Croft of RnR
reviews Poor Ellen Smith by Rattle on the Stovepipe:

This is the sixth album of (mostly) old time American music from Dave Arthur, Pete Cooper and Dan Stewart. True to form, Poor Ellen Smith feels fresh and full of life, with the classic combination of guitar, banjo and fiddle augmented by occasional melodeon or harmonica.

The seventeen tracks switch back and forth between songs and tunes, starting with a song with the wonderful title, 'Dead-heads And Suckers'. There's plenty of death to match the spirit of the times, as in the title track, a jolly treatment of a grisly murder tale, and old favourite 'Stackolee' seemingly played on speed… All I need to say about the tune sets is that they're varied and uniformly excellent.

Finally, here's an album that, for once, has sleeve notes that deserve high praise indeed. They're informative, well researched and a fitting complement to a really superb CD. Thanks, chaps!

**** 4 star



Old Virginia CD Cover
Old Virginia
WildGoose Records WGS398CD

Chinquapin Hunting
Sandy Boys
Bonnie Prince Charlie
Old Virginia
Elk River Blues
Rattle On the Stovepipe
Bill Dalton's Wife
Santa Anna's Retreat
Duncan and Brady
Coleman's March
Young and Venturesome
Shove the Pig's Foot… Farther in the Fire
Dear Companion
New River Train
Gypsy Girl

Released in 2014, this is the second album from Rattle on the Stovepipe's Dave Arthur, Pete Cooper and Dan Stewart.

'Old Virginia proves a heartwarming and tremendously enjoyable disc that does exactly what the press handout proclaims – "puts a smile on the face and a skip in the step" – and does it all almost without trying!'
- David Kidman, Fatea

'Yet another blisteringly good album from my favourite Old Time band… This gets my vote of Best Album of the Year.'
- Mary Humphreys, Mardles magazine

'On their earlier albums, the band concerned themselves with the transition and transfer of songs and tunes from Britain to the New World. This time they have clearly landed in North America…'
- Vic Smith, fRoots

'I suspect that some old timey fans may find this disc a little too laid back. All I can say is, try playing it on a hot July night, as I did, with all the windows open, the fan going, and a cooling drop of whatever you fancy. It's magic.'
- Fred McCormick, English Dance and Song magazine

'C'est bien sûr de la musique américaine, principalement old time, mais jouée par des Anglais, et c'est cela qui est intéressant… - c'est un mélange de cultures qui se donne un air tout naturel.'
- Marc Bauduin, Le Canard folk

Band in Taxi

For the full reviews: www.wildgoose.co.uk

No Use in Cryin CD cover

No Use in Cryin'

WildGoose Records WGS 371CD


'This CD is truly a delight from start to finish. Never showy, never flash, its quiet understatement draws you in and fills you with wonder. It sounds authentic, but there are no fake American accents or strident solos… My personal favourites are the classic seafaring maid song, "Short Jacket and White Trousers" and the Carter Family "You've been a Friend"'
- Jerry Bix, What's Afoot

'The stovepipe is well and truly rattled here… No Use In Cryin' proudly presents a wide-ranging collection of tunes and songs that through history have crossed back and forth, here given appealingly and refreshingly in versions from either or both sides of the pond. In healthy juxtaposition, we encounter fiddle tunes from Kentucky, West Virginia and Seattle nestling companionably under the same roof as that good ol' O' Carolan morris tune Princess Royal and a fun medley that bestows a "transatlantic melodic overlap" on D'Ye Ken John Peel, all played in the easily-expert, deft-yet-passionate manner of the genuine old-time enthusiast… Dave and Pete each take roughly equal turns with the singing, and both (albeit in contrasted vocal styles) invariably prove themselves well up to the task of authentically and enthusiastically conveying the essence of the texts without any sense of contrivance. The winning formula of the earlier disc is reprised with the approach taken to the provision of the liner notes, for once again these are both succinct and splendidly informative…
- David Kidman, Net Rhythms

'Dave Arthur sings with an edge to the voice that fits the songs like a glove. He plays superbly rhythmical banjo, guitar and melodeon. Pete Cooper has a more mellow voice that suits the more lyrical songs he chooses. Dan Stewart is a new name to me. His banjo playing is to die for… Don't forget, if you want an instant antidote to the blues, go out and buy this CD. You will have a smile on your face right the way through it and for hours afterwards!'
- Mary Humphreys, Mardles magazine

Rattle on the Stovepipe





So far so Good CD Cover

So Far So Good
WildGoose Records WGS 374CDR


So Far So Good is a 2010 compilation featuring Dan's predecessor in the band, Chris Moreton (guitar) - the best of Eight More Miles (2006) and Return Journey (2003).

Earlier Band

'It's hard to believe that it's seven years since Dave first went into the WildGoose studios with Pete and Chris to record Return Journey, a look at the musical connections and cross-overs between the British Isles and the Appalachians. After the recording we decided to play together as 'Rattle On the Stovepipe', the title of a song on the album. By 2006 we'd settled down as a band and went back into the studio to record 8 More Miles. These first two albums have sold out, but we offer this compilation of 'best' tracks.'
- Dave, Pete and Dan, 2010


Return Journey CD Cover

Return Journey

Dave Arthur has produced a CD that's an entertaining, informed and intelligent look at songs, ballads and tunes that crossed from the British Isles to the United States, 'on the lips, in the fingers and in the hearts of generations of emigrants,' as he says in his excellent and witty sleeve notes. The transformations are fascinating, and sometimes surprising, the first track going straight for it with the Morris tune 'Shepherds Hey' becoming 'Old Molly Hare'. It's obvious once you've heard it… I loved the very spooky 'Oh Death', which Dave says was inspired by Doc Boggs' version, and 'I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me', which he learnt from Jeff Davis, who had it from Connemara's Joe Heaney… If I had to pick a favourite track it would be 'The Two Sisters', which is quite heartbreakingly beautiful in its simplicity and restraint.
- Shirley Collins, fRoots


o More Miles Cd Cover

8 More Miles

In these days of too clever-clever Americana, it's immensely refreshing to hear real old time music played with such verve and melodic nous by musicians at the very top of their game. Many of the ballads and tunes collected in the US had, of course, their genesis in these isles and the repertory here is best described as Anglo-American. Listen to the familiar jig "New Rigged Ship" beloved of box players in sessions nationwide and then hear its coupling and development into "Green Willis" – a fiddle and banjo reel… Here are tales from the dark side – supernatural, mysterious, compelling.  Of death, true love and false lovers.  Sentiment in spades… Add to this polkas, waltzes and downright breathless fox-chasing and you have an exhilarating roller coaster of an album for the discerning listener… A very appealing debut – this hits every spot available!
- Clive Pownceby, Lancashire Wakes

I have described Pete Cooper elsewhere as "a bit of a chameleon" and he continues this here, sounding as stylish and authentic an oldtime fiddler as you could wish for, then swapping to another persona and doing exactly the same for English fiddle. Chris Moreton is one of these islands' finest flatpick guitarists and is also an excellent accompanist. Dave Arthur plays guitar and banjo and takes the lion's share of the lead vocals. His vocal style is unusual; he is a very percussive singer, hitting the beginning of notes very hard and then letting the tone taper away; couple with this his penchant for sprechtstimme a sort of pitched/unpitched speaking of some of the lyrics and you get a performance which ought not to work, but in fact is just what is needed and really spruces up the songs… Shirley Collins describes this album as "A Perfect Pleasure": Hear! hear!
- Paul Burgess, Shreds and Patches






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