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Chris Parkinson’s melodeons crank out the tunes, John Skelton’s flutes and raspy bombardes give them soul and color, Roger Wilson’s fiddle tells the tale, and Ged Foley’s percussive guitar chords help make this English foursome essential listening for anyone looking for the sound of England and the regions around it. October Song stands in stark contrast to some of The House Band’s earlier works (which were full of moody darkness and sad, sad songs), presenting lively traditional dance tunes in creative original settings. The group’s take on the Kentucky fiddle tune "Rock in the Mountain" is splendid. The hornpipe "Three Rusty Swords" and the folk chestnut "The Dusty Miller" are given lively turns. Not that the band has shied away from the dark side of the ballad tradition. The setting of "Seven Yellow Gypsies" (a.k.a. "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy") is demonic, with Wilson’s foot taps setting a heartbeat pace for a spare, foreboding rendition of this tale of doom.
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