Barbara Lamb / Vivian Williams

Twin Sisters

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When this album was recorded in 1974 and 1975, Vivian Williams was a relatively young fiddler with 14 years of playing experience behind her and a long, productive professional career ahead; the same was true of her student, the even younger Barbara Lamb, who would later go on to much acclaim as a member of Asleep at the Wheel and Ranch Romance. Their twin-fiddle performances on this album are exhilarating, but they sometimes feel a bit rough, particularly on unison passages -- the playing on "Spotted Pony" is especially ragged, and they take "St. Anne's Reel" at a headlong tempo that obscures the tune's beauty. The production, too, is a bit thin. But when they get in the groove, there's nothing quite like the excitement these two generate: Their rendition of "Hell Among the Yearlings" is beautiful, and the droning longbow playing on the Scandinavian tune "Gärdebylåten" is very lovely. They are nicely accompanied throughout by what was Williams' band at the time, a bluegrass outfit called Tall Timber -- Dick Marvin's guitar work is especially noteworthy. Overall, this is a perfectly fine album but perhaps not the best introduction to the work of either of these great fiddlers.

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