Vivian Williams

Live!

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AllMusic Review by

The husband-and-wife team of fiddler Vivian Williams and her husband Phil has been playing together around the Pacific Northwest since they were married in 1959; the material on this live disc is culled from three performances recorded in 1995 and 1998. Perhaps because it's at such a long remove from the centers of North American fiddle music in the southern Appalachians, Texas, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, the Northwestern fiddle style is highly eclectic and draws on all of those traditions fairly equally. Thus the Williams' concert repertoire includes such disparate tunes as "Ragtime Annie," "Mason's Apron," "Smash the Windows," and "Cripple Creek," as well as several fine originals. Among the latter, one of the most charming is Vivian Williams' humorous "Green Tomato Blues" (in which she bemoans the relative positions of the sun, her neighbor's tree, and her garden). Phil breaks out a gut-strung fretless banjo for a rollicking rendition of "Cripple Creek," and sings a great old Carter Family song called "Jealous Hearted Me." The sound quality isn't always great, but the playing is. Highly recommended.