Reviews of 'Auf Wiedersehen, Me Duck'

Folking.com - May 2022Read the full review here: Folking.com Website

Reviews of 'The Whole Charade'


Link to Living Tradition Homepage

REVIEW FROM www.livingtradition.co.uk 








Crazy Moose Records CM03

This Anglo-German duo has a very strong following in and around The Potteries area, and is now beginning to gain some degree of national recognition, well outside the Staffordshire/Cheshire catchment area.

An Paul and Karen have done that latter ambition no harm with this mix of self-penned songs interspersed with the occasional Folk classic. The album arrives in a beautifully presented Digipak: one furthermore, that is a first for me, in that it features photos of exquisite sculptures of the duo’s heads (made by Gillie Nicholls at her Stafford studio). 

From even first listening, one is aware that one is in the presence of two very skilled operators. (Three, if you include multi-instrumentalist and album producer Scott Ralph.)

The songs that the duo self-penned cover a range of subject matter, and are all as well-crafted as they are well-performed. Karen has a seriously impressive, mezzo-soprano voice: one that would not be out of place on the opera stage. Yet it is a singing voice that blends very well with Paul’s, and shows not a scintilla of a German accent, in that she sings mainly in RP English (although track 3 sees her sounding peculiarly Irish...or maybe I have my ears on wrong).

And those harmonies are quite stirring and almost Winter Wilsonish in beauty (particularly on the bridge of the title song, and the chorus of the powerful Peter Hames song, Ordinary Man).

Of the self-penned, the standout track is Lift This Weight. It is a song on the present industrial dereliction in Stoke-on-Trent, and a fond memory of very different days when there was the camaraderie to be cherished from what was otherwise a hard working life. Of the famous songs they have chosen to cover, they do very respectable versions of classics like CaledoniaWhat’s The Use Of Wings?, and The L&N Don’t Stop Here Any More: versions that don’t make me pine for the originals.

This album will get a thumbs up from me, but I want to end a favourable review with a word of warning. Please don’t flag-up the fact that you are offering two bonus tracks to the 11, when the track that opens the CD is (after a few seconds of a music box intro), just 52 seconds of Sir Samuel Ferguson’s The Lark In The Clear Air, which is marked as “Part One”, and track 11 is shown as “Part Two” of the same, and is timed at a similar 50 seconds.

Perhaps that breaking of the lovely Irish song in two (to turn 10 tracks into 11), has a deep meaning that has gone over my head. But I think not: it smacks of a pretentious gimmick. Dear Paul and Karen: don’t do it. You are too good for such ruses. 


Dai Woosnam



Folker, Summer 2018

Germany's largest Folk Magazine

Germany's largest Folk Magazine

‘An Englishman and a German prove impressively how much fine music flies under the well-informed radar. With two grand voices - individually and together - they interpret self-penned songs and songs like ‘Caledonia’ or ‘The L&N don’t stop here any more’. Well produced and still fit for live performance. All around very enjoyable.’

Translation: ‘An Englishman and a German prove impressively how much fine music flies under the well-informed radar. With two grand voices - individually and together - they interpret self-penned songs and songs like ‘Caledonia’ or ‘The L&N don’t stop here any more’. Well produced and still fit for live performance. All around very enjoyable.’

Folk North West, Spring 2018

FolkWorld online, May 2018

"The Whole Charade," a lovely burlesque of traditional British/Anglo-American and original ballads, rendered with a subtle groove and great passion for the pure stuff."

Folk Monthly, December 2018

Stirrings 175 plus 2018

reviews extra title

Some reviews that we weren't able to fit into Stirrings 175...



Crazy Moose Records CM03


From the outset, it's obvious that here we have a very accomplished team, folks who know exactly what they're about and how to do it all properly. Paul and Karen are an Anglo-German duo who already have a healthy following in the Potteries/Staffordshire/Cheshire area; clearly they feel it's time for the next-stage marketing push, for their third CD arrives in style, lavishly and uniquely packaged (complete with images of head-and-shoulders sculptures of the happy couple), brilliantly recorded (produced by Scott Ralph) and accompanied by a long list of tour dates.

Paul and Karen have developed a highly proficient and assured joint performing style, with a clear commitment to engage and entertain their audience (in that respect there's a definite kinship with Cloudstreet and, nearer home, Winter-Wilson). Paul's guitar work is attractive and individual in character, complementing his own singing style and blending nicely with Karen's clear, gently attention-grabbing voice. She sings powerfully, with an occasional (yet undistracting) trace of a German accent – but leaves us in no doubt that she completely understands what she's singing about, as much as she shares with Paul an appreciation of the approved concept and methods of harmony. They also make a keen writing team, and the album showcases six of their well-crafted original compositions, which cover a good range of topics with both insight and affection. Two of the highlights, which here are billed as the CD's bonus tracks, turn out to be re-recordings of earlier songs from the duo's canon, more fully scored with strings and brass and extra vocal layers.

For the remainder of the disc, Karen and Paul tread the boards of the mainstream folk stages with a selection of covers of suitably genial folky crowd-pleasers – courtesy of Brian Bedford (What's The Use Of Wings?), Dougie Maclean (Caledonia), and the repertoire of Christy Moore (Peter Hames' Ordinary Man and Johnny Duhan's The Voyage). These are both respectful and a couple of notches above respectable (although Paul's prone to a touch of over-emphasis here and there). Finally, the album proper is bookended by two separated verses of The Lark In The Clear Air, sung beautifully and a cappella by Karen, and prefaced by a tinkling music-box. (But why? their rationale completely defeats me…)

Yet here's the rub: for in the final analysis, I can't escape the feeling that I'm missing another dimension, since I'm neither lifted up into the heights nor taken deep into the depths by what I hear. Perhaps it's also that I'd have welcomed a less "safe", more adventurous choice of covers? But there's no doubting that Paul and Karen are a class act, and this CD is a consciously well-managed showcase for their talents.

David Kidman

Review of 'One by One'