This 1987 recording features Bill Crofut & Friends at Mechanics Hall (both in concert and without an audience in the same venue), playing folk songs from a span of hundreds of years and several countries. Crofut, who plays both banjo and 12-string guitar, shares the lead vocals with the rich-voiced Benjamin Luxon, a native of Cornwall, and the supporting cast of musicians includes Chris Brubeck (a frequent collaborator with Crofut) on electric bass and bass trombone, fiddler Maggie Holtzberg, and banjo player Bill Keith. Highlights include the hilarious ribald Irish bragging song "The Tinker," the charming "Dance to Your Daddy" (which suggests a father singing to his infant son), a gorgeous rendition of the Welsh ballad "The Ash Grove" (later recast as the hymn "Let All Thing Now Living"), as well as a lively interpretation of a piece of Americana, "Turkey in the Straw." It becomes apparent why Crofut chose not to record the entire album in concert, as it would be harder to understand many of the lyrics due to the likely audience reaction to some of the funny songs. Although this Bill Crofut CD is recommended, he would record several more releases that eclipsed this release, including two more for Telarc, Across Your Dreams with Frederica von Stade and Chris Brubeck, and his final release, Dance on a Moonbeam, issued following Crofut's death from cancer.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden