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  Barefoot & Blue - REVIEW          
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Artist: Milton & Farrow Skiffle+Blues Band Title: Barefoot & Blue
Label: Right Track Records RTR-S 12011

Richie and Bill have combined their talents to create a refreshing mixture of acoustic folk, blues and lively skiffle; both have written six original numbers each and for which they accordingly provide lead vocals, except for the title track in which they share the lead. Bill, with his patient and understated approach, excels on the shuffling, compassionate and† more than thoughtful poignant folk and blues numbers, giving each of them a gently evocative toetapping homespun feel, while Richies vocals on the bright and breezy skiffle numbers injects a feeling of energetic joy; on the slower shuffles Richie presents a rather more distinct feeling of vulnerability.

Providing the excellently sensitive and shuffling accompaniment is; Alan Glen; harmonica and kazoo, Greg Harewood; bass, Graham Hollingworth; drums and Roger Cotton; keyboards.
After a number of plays you become pleasantly aware of how Richies unique voice bears more than just a passing resemblance to the original king of skiffle Lonnie Donegan, a fact that certainly more than adds to the highly enjoyable proceedings. The twelve numbers gently and evocatively explore the highs and lows of love, hope, loss and the ability to successfully negotiate the intricacies of the Hammersmith and City Line. One number that particularly stands out is Blond Blue Baby,which seems to be a wonderful homage to Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup, the lyrical vocals from Richie and plaintively sweet guitar passages are most definitely a delight for the ears.
Although the pace is far from frenetic it is a fine body of work that more than warms and reaches into the soul!
Highly recommended!

Brian Harman.

 
             
 

Milton-Farrow Blues+Skiffle Band author: Norman Darwen

Richie Milton will best be judged by history and most likely found to be a significant figure inthe British blues scene. With releases on theNote-Music, Blues Matters! and Indigo labels, plus some he has put out himself, the beshaded frontman for his Lowdown is not a new name but he does seem to get overlooked in the UK blues pantheon - despite always receiving excellent reviews (and he'll get another of those here). Fellow singer/ guitarist Bill Farrow is known to some for his song "Canning Town Blues", which West Ham fans will have heard down at Upton Park, but Bill is also an all-round talent, being both an actor and poet in addition to his blues skills. This CD presents the two men alternating their vocals,

backing each other up, and performing real duets.
The music is acoustic based, with a rhythm section of Greg Harewood on bass and Graham Hollingworth on drums providing just the right kind of bottom for this music, and Roger Cotton on organ on two tracks. Alan Glen provides his top-notch harmonica playing to six songs and also supplies the kazoo on "She Don't Know". Alert readers may now be forming reasonably accurate ideas of what this release sounds like - kazoo may suggest the
urbane hokum sound of Tampa Red And Georgia Tom, and the use of the word "skiffle" tends to reinforce that - and it has English
sounding connotations which are certainly borne out by the likes of the gospel- based "Hammersmith And City Line" and several less obviously-titled compositions. There are also a couple of tips of the hat to rockabilly - but in a aid- back style, as is the rest of the album. I enjoyed this very much; a little different, but a lot familiar. Richie never disappoints, does he? Neither does Bill...

Rating: 8 - Norman Darwen