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Thursday 30 May 2024

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Luke Daniels & The Cobhers.

Nov 5, 2022

This is just a little bit clever. Luke Daniels has never made any secret of his desire to open new doors for folk music and to take it – to paraphrase Captain Jim Kirk of the USS Enterprise- where no traditional influence has gone before. Which is all very well but more difficult than it might at first sound. Observation is an underestimated tool for research, but Daniels has taken note of the fact that there are certain tunes and songs which get people of all ages up and shaking at weddings and birthday celebrations, even office parties. So he’s applied that to his latest project which he calls The Cobhers – read that as The Covers- with such sentiments and intentions in the mission statement.

Salted with their own compositions and several trad items the album revolves around some cannily placed pop and soul tunes which are geed up with folk interpretations, ‘Staying Alive’ from Bee Gees stock is the best arranged and instantly recognisable with it’s ‘get on down’ groove preserved whilst the squeezebox cannily leads the melody. Equally as effective is The Average White Band’s ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ with piano out front and a tick tock  rhythm. Stevie Wonder’s ‘Superstition,’ is another cracker in which the melodeon takes the vocal line and a dance floor groove underpins any extemporisations the fiddle/box conjure. If you’re going to ask me which of their own sets are the most successful I’d have to nominate the gentle ‘Doodly Doodly Dank,’ which allows each player to showcase their undoubted skills but Eleanor Dunsdon on harp puts in particularly attractive work as the track progressively speeds up and gets giddier by the second.

All of this put in mind of ‘The Reel & Soul Association,’ a cruelly forgotten album cut by the likes of Michael McGoldrick, John Kirkpatrick, Kellie While, Paul Burgess and others under the canny leadership of Nigel Stonier, that did what it said on the cover in splendid fashion, adapting old soul classics such as ‘Green Onions,’ to fit snugly with jigs and airs. Somebody really should reissue it, what lies within is smart and seductive.

Meanwhile The Cobhers are produced by Paul Savage who has worked with such characters as Bella Hardy, King Creosote and Paulo Nutini, whilst having just the right amount of commercial and roosty chutzpah for Luke and company. You’ll be greatly rewarded for investing in this item both musically and emotionally, it can’t fail to make you beam and feel jollier about life. Touring next Spring they’re a must see for sure.

Simon Jones.

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