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Pete Castle with Lucy Castle, fiddle; Lorin Halsall, string bass; Rob Barber, drums.

Tapping at the Blind
The Maestro
The Armless Maiden
The Man in the Woods (song)
The Woman Who Married a Bear
The Bear Dance (tune)
At Last We’re Alone

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Price Including P & P £5

“I can't help feeling that "Tapping At The Blind" might have benefited from the reactions of a live audience. However, the studio recording does have an undeniable immediacy and combines with Castle's unedited little fluffs to convey the impression that the teller is recounting his frequently bizarre tales in your own living room. "Stories For Grown-ups" is an appropriate subtitle; the casual incest and ultra violence of The Armless Maiden is certainly not the stuff to play to the kids at bedtime if horrific nightmares are to be avoided. The little darlings might also have their sleep disturbed by the concluding brief little chiller; At Last We're Alone, both title and payoff line. They could take more kindly to the ursine coprophilia of The Woman Who Married A Bear - "this woman shits gold", exclaims a bear at one point (no, it would take too long to explain) - apart from the less-than-happy ending (at least for the bear). In fact, the endings are much like the stories themselves; little artfulness and few twists, just a reflection of the ordinary, arbitrary, messy nature of existence, succinctly encapsulated in the closing lines of The Armless Maiden: “and I won't pretend that they lived happily ever after - because they didn't. But they did discuss things and they did apologise for things that had happened in the past” (So am I forgiven for cutting off your breasts, daughter dear? No problem, father dear - I grew another pair.) "And they were reconciled to each other; and they got by for the rest of their lives just as well or as badly as most families manage to." Goodnight, children - everywhere.
Dave Tuxford in Living Tradition #53 Nov. 2003

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