Troubshort and Turnipseed
DARK CLOUDS OVER DIDCOT
Consequently, decent instrumentals include the opening Wood Smoke Through The Birches, a mid-paced guitar and banjo piece, albeit punctuated by silly vocal interjections, Turnipseed’s dulcimer-led Foggy Mountain Morris and Troubshort’s busy banjo on the catchy Brinkinfield Breakdown. These are just three of several solid instrumentals, the others including the title track, 2 By 4/Fence Panel, the pleasant dulcimer tones of Rabbit In The Rain and the gentle closer, After The Snow Has Gone. In contrast with these cool instrumentals, the humour and daft character voices of, say, Bold Yogurt Maker, Phone Song (which retains something of the Pipkins’ 1970 hit Gimme Dat Ding), the pacey Mackesons, and Hong Kong Johnson will not be to all tastes, their vocal performances conjuring up an unholy mixture of British Scrumpy and Western band the Wurzels and 1990s country comedy act Run C&W.
Like a soccer match of two halves, DARK CLOUDS OVER DIDCOT is a CD of two sides. The instrumentals are enjoyable and well-performed (recalling the 1972 film Deliverance in places) and are serious pieces of music (hence three stars), but the wry, humorous material, while undoubtedly going down well with an ale at a festival on a summer’s afternoon, will not be everybody’s cup of tea. I know how po-faced this must sound—we are talking about comedy after all—but while DARK CLOUDS OVER DIDCOT would make a memorable souvenir of a fun afternoon or evening out, Troubshort and Turnipseed need to balance their sound musicianship with a few self-penned straight ballads in order to garner any kind of serious musical acclaim. But as noted, perhaps that’s not what this album is about.