Don't Mind Walking

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Barely Works, Don't Mind Walking
Irene Jackson Henry has a review of Barely Works Don't Mind Walking . She notes that 'This album, the last of three The Barely Works recorded in their five-year life, features the band's unique orchestration, a sort of collision of a folk trio with a jazz trio, sharing a drummer. Sarah Allen plays accordion, flutes, and whistles, Mat Fox plays dulcimer, percussion and vocals, and Alison Jones plays fiddle and sings as well. They provide the folk-based heart of the group. The jazz comes from Richard Avison's trombone, Keith Moore's tuba (!), and Chris Thompson's banjo, charango and vocals. Tim Walmsley, the drummer, holds it all together somehow. It works - and not just barely. The tuba and trombone, so unusual in most ensembles, really are a joy here, used generally like another group might use a bass to provide a sturdy melodic rhythm. The accordion adds drone, the banjo and dulcimer add sparkle and melody.'

DooDah Review Barely Works - Don't Mind Walking

Several of the originals remind me of a British version of Poi Dog Pondering, especially the funky album-opener "Something'll Have To Change" and the closing "Stand Together" (both written by banjoist Chris Thompson). The second track is a medley, which starts off with a traditional sounding fiddle-banjo duet on "Staten Island", then starts to sound more like a Bavarian brass band once the rhythm section comes in, then slides into a syncopated shuffle. Like Cordelia's Dad, the Barely Works clearly regard these tunes as part of an ongoing, evolving tradition; a raucous version of "Old Joe Clarke" confirms this. Various recognizable rhythms drift around here and there: samba on "Bread and Water", a bit of reggae, a snatch of New Orleans second-line -- but none of the tunes are cut from whole cloth, instead they're patchwork quilts that sound like no one style but their own.

KZSU Zookeeper Online

Barely Works Albums

World Music Central - Your connection to World Music

Sarah Allen started her musical career in a couple of little known bands on the London circuit - Di's New Outfit, and Bodhrans and Binlids. Soon, she realized a life's ambition to join The Happy End (as a novice accordion player). Around the same time (1988), The Barely Works was formed, and this became a fairly full time occupation for 5 years or so. After The Barely Works disbanded in 1993, she went on to form Bigjig with banjo maestro Chris Thompson, whom with she plays with in an occasional duo. "I've also played in a duo with Leo Kelly of Tir Na Nog, and with Tir Na Nog themselves. I play with Sally Barker sometimes as well."

See Groups: The Barely Works