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Two’s Up Two – Simon Care & Gareth Turner.

May 13, 2024

A celebration of life long friendship, there are two ‘Two’s Up’ here as the title indicates, one recorded back in 1997 – when both Simon Care and Gareth Turner were young wags enlivening the folk rock game. Care with The Albion Band and EII, Gareth Turner as part of Little Johnny England. Fine contrubutions they made too. The second of the ‘Two’s’ was recorded through early 2023 but comes this year after careful thought, preparation and curation went into its release following the very sad passing of Gareth Turner.

Care and Turner are from the same village, grew up and indeed lived within yards of each other in Moulton, Northamptonshire, a place steeped in the folk tradition and sporting a very enthusiastic Morris dance side in which both became entwined. They decided to record a follow up to their original duo album after Gareth’s diagnosis, having wanted to record one before but things got in the way. Some twenty seven years later however, here finally arrives the second instalment, appended to the first.

You’ll know many of these tunes from previous activity, ‘Snow Chains’ for instance from The Albion Christmas Band, ‘Brilliant Pebbles’ from EII, as well as the Morris tradition, ‘Princess Royal,’ which opens up in a merry swagger must be one of the most recorded English dance tunes, here retaining all intrinsic charms.

Despite electric history the duo strip the melodies right back and yet still find a slightly competitive spirit which pushes the tracks beyond mere reproduction. That the tunes are catchy and melodic goes without saying and if you’ve an ounce of roots in your soul they scream England out of the speakers, enhanced, you have to admit, by selected guests such as Tim Walker on brass and percussion, Guy Fletcher with various stringed things, Nick Ellison and Phil Beer on fiddles. The two guys out front and centre live up to their legend in fine style, you won’t hear much more skilful, daredevil, melodeon playing anywhere.

I spoke to the two of them at Cropredy 2023 when Gareth though very ill managed to raise his spirits to contribute with good humour to the interview, which Simon had told me as we strolled backstage they both wanted very much to do. ‘Twos’ Up Two’ can’t help but be tinged with a bittersweet air, though the entire release is dedicated to Gareth’s family and proceeds will be donated to Cynithia Spencer Hospice. Good things can emerge from sad times.

Mixed with care by Stefan Care and engineered by Angus Wallace, all those involved have planned, and executed with sympathy, delicacy, befitting a release stacked with memory and poignancy. Long and often may this music be played.

Simon Jones. 

talkingelephant.co.uk

 

 

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