Drop The Floor are four friends who met and bonded through the session scene in and around Clitheroe. Though based in the North West of England, their music is mainly drawn from the traditional Irish repertoire.
Fairly Cookin’ is the band’s second album, and very much captures the feel of a convivial playaround. There’s an abundance of old session favourites such as The Musical Priest and Lucy Campbell’s, leavened with singalong numbers such as The Leaving of Liverpool.
Dan Burke’s precision tenor banjo rolls on the likes of Jenny Picking Cockles demonstrates perfectly why that instrument is such a great fit for Irish Trad music.
Steven Johnston’s uilleann pipes on The Humours of Ballylough rise to a raucous squeal, swelling and ebbing away with each phrase. Meanwhile the drones get put to good use underscoring slow air Aisling Gheal and A Dying Sailor to His Shipmates
As for the songs, Pills of White Mercury draws out the melancholy of the lyrics underlying the breezy melody. The other slow songs such as The Water is Wide land on just the right side of being overly sentimental, though this is balanced by a rousing rendition of Tipping It up to Nancy.
The arrangements and accompaniment are uncomplicated but not lacking in taste. Richard Moss provides a firm but tasteful foundation on guitar. The well chosen chords and shifts in emphasis, particularly on the songs, show a degree of thoughtfulness however.
To say that there’s not much new about the music on Fairly Cookin’ would be missing the point. This is the sound of a group who clearly enjoy playing together, the songs and tunes as well chosen and well played as they are well worn. If there aren’t any fun, good quality sessions running near you, then you could do worse than stick this album on.Nick Brook
Released on CD and digitally April 12 2018. Produced by Drop The Floor and Elliot Dryden.
1. Helvic Head / The Humours of Ballyloughlin
2. The Willow Garden / Black Pat’s Reel
3. Lucy Campbell’s Reel/ The Laurel Tree / The Bird in the Bush
4. Pills of White Mercury
5. Whelan’s Old Sow / The Galbally Farmer / Whelan’s Jig
6. The Water is Wide
7. Garrett Barry’s Jig/ Jenny Picking Cockles / Maud Miller
8. Aisling Gheal / O’Farrell’s Welcome to Limerick
9. Annie’s House / Donald Blue
10. Coinleach Glas an Fohmhair / Caislean an Oir / Ballymanus Fair
11. Tipping It up to Nancy / Awa an Boil Yer Head Ya Mug Ye
12. Ships Are Sailing / Erin’s Grove / The Musical Priest
13. A Dying Sailor to his Shipmates
14. The Leaving of Liverpool / The Bucks of Oranmore