All At Once (Self-produced; cassette)

Ten Penny Bit

By John Goodin

Louisville's own Ten Penny Bit has produced a follow-up to their excellent initial recording. All At Once is one more feather in the cap of the Fall Cities' thriving Celtic music scene.

The original trio of Robin Loeffler, Mark Cannon and Bob Loeffler has been augmented by the addition of Kimble Howard on fiddle and Celtic harp. This change has helped the band avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx. The new recording has all the strengths of the first plus some new timbres and textures to distinguish it from its predecessor.

All At Once opens with a medley of dance tunes led by Robin Loeffler's hammered dulcimer but carefully arranged to highlight Kimble Howard's fiddling as well. The band drops out for the second tune in the medley, "Peter Street," which is played solo by Howard in a very convincing manner. The next cut is the only vocal on the tape, an unaccompanied comic song, "Dear Boss."

Mark Cannon is one of the best Celtic mandolin players anywhere. He and Robin Loeffler open the next set of tunes in duet, hammered dulcimer and mandolin being one of the finest combinations of sounds imaginable. Bob Loeffler enters on Irish bouzouki, the fiddle comes in and the medley rolls along to a satisfying conclusion.

The Celtic harp makes its appearance on "Fiddler's Dream/Sheebeg Sheemore" in what I assume is an overdubbed duet with fiddle. Cannon brings out his tin whistle for the second tune which is sort of the "Stairway to Heaven" of Celtic music and the group manages a lovely, fresh rendition of this war-horse.

A special aspect of All At Once lies in the number of recently composed tunes played by the band. "Caliche Creek" by Jim Mullany is a driving reel with a fun rhythmic twist in the "B" section of the tune. Pat Shaw's "Levi Jackson Rag" is a great change-up, a straight ahead rag delightfully played. The recording closes with a medley of tunes by Dan Coffey of Frankfort, Ky.": "Sylvia's Waltz" and the "Cork and Kerry Waltz." Both are gentle and evocative melodies perfect to end a night of dancing or listening.

Fans of Celtic music and friends of local music would do well to rush out and buy this tape. If enough folks cough up the necessary cash we may be treated to a third release down the road. Sufficient sales might also inspire the other Celtic groups in the area to record more. Let's have a second Tight Squeeze recording. Let's hear from Drowsy Maggie. Let's have someone fund a Madoc at the Falls, Best of Louisville Area Celtic tape featuring all the bands.