September / October 1998 Issue
Various Artists: "Face the Creek"
by Donna Eckberg
This CD compiled and produced by Childgrove Country Dancers celebrates and commemorates the dance weekends held over the past 15 years on the Lee farm near Kimmswick, Mo. The title was carefully chosen to evoke memories of the creek bottom site. Rock Creek was the focal point of activities during the warm days and was chosen as a reference point by Roger Diggle while calling Al Olsen’s Women’s Wall. “Face The Creek” became part of the dance and will always remind us of the Kimmswick site now lost to housing developers.
This is a good sampler of old time bands performing live. This does make some selections rather long, ranging from four to eleven minutes. It is a great mix of young and older players. The youth category comes on strong with fiddlers Matt Wyatt on Marmaduke’s Hornpipe, Rhys Jones on Rye Straw and 12 year old Stephie Coleman sitting in with the Euphoria Stringband from Kansas. Bob Holt from Ava, Mo. holds the vintage end of the spectrum with Lonesome Polly Ann. He shows why he is regarded as one of the top square dance fiddlers. Filling out the continuum, no dance weekend is complete without the Ill-Mo Boys with Geoff Seitz pumping out Tomahawk. Barb Weathers makes her entry with Chasing The Banshee and I instantly recognized Mark Rennard’s playful, tongue-in-cheek style with the Flying Mules on Oklahoma Red Bird.
Two bonus cuts here include a selection from Crazy Rhythm at an afternoon swing dance with their vintage style. The boys stretch out on a Cab Calloway classic, A Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ But A Bird, showing off their chops and giving the dancers plenty to chew on. The other is a late night entry by Roger Diggle’s one-man band on guitar and lips, whistling a swingy rendition of Ross’ Reel No. 4. This ends the project on a spontaneous note and reminds us the dancing will continue regardless of obstacles or change. (P.S. The CD will be available at Kimmswick.)
Cathy Barton & Dave Para: "Crazy Quilt"
by Andrew Limanni
It is truly a delight and pleasure to be able to present to you the latest release of that most versatile and talented duo of mid-Missouri folk artists, Cathy Barton and Dave Para. In the five years that this newsletter has been around, I have had the luck to review all of their CD’s. I can only say, in all that time, with singer-songwriters coming and going, with good and not-so-good folksingers appearing and disappearing on these pages, it is a treat to come home to artists that consistently produce music at the highest caliber and warmth and honesty. And as to quality, it seems that the sheer talent of these two just floats up off the top of the CD player and starts flying around the room above one’s head.
The latest effort, Crazy Quilt, is truly that, and includes lots of personal favorites of Cathy and Dave. Although it’s not a perfect CD (after all, it doesn’t include Marmaduke’s Hornpipe), it does contain, among others: a simultaneously cheerful and tragic folksong about a carpenter, soulful ballads, a Mormon song, absolutely great dance tunes, a blues, a new a cappella song of great spiritual power (Call Down), love songs, a Haitian merengue, Dave playing the didgeridoo (I’m not making any of this up), and of course, terrific hammered dulcimer playing by Cathy—her first claim to fame, but by now merely one arrow in her bulging artistic quiver.
This may be the most delightful, enchanting and balanced work they have ever produced, and I heartily recommend it. It has been an honor to know them and hear their music for the last 15 years. You can find it for $15 at record stores or order it directly from them at P.O. Box 33, Boonville, MO 65233.
Folk music does not get any better than this.