I can’t help but feel there’s a little irony by the fact the first track on this compilation of live favourites from Chonkinfeckle is about the bargain filled field of a Car Boot sale, for this CD comes with a value-for-money-tastic 24 tracks. What’s more you only need slip Tim & Les a fiver in the Tap & Barrel and you can re-live the live antics of these two uke festival favourites at your leisure again and again! Indeed you can even download a PDF of all the lyrics and chords so you can strum along too to your heart’s content.
For those who don’t know, Chonkinfeckle are a duo from Wigan who perform light hearted modern day folk songs written by ukulele, cigar box and harmonica player Les Hilton, the other 50% of the performance provided by Tim Cooke on vocals, percussion and uke. With cheeky grins, a twinkle in their eyes, proud Lancastrian accents and ingeniously witty local lyrics and stories the buoyant antics of Chonkinfeckle are entertainment at its purest.
Musically these chaps certainly know their instruments with some quality “old school” strumming and a chocolate box of accompaniment and solo styles borrowing flavours from various genres of country and blues. Just take a listen to the Mark Knopfler-esque solo intro to The Texan From Goose Green. And lyrically there’s many an excuse for a chortle, Button Up Flies certainly causing a smirk or two at my Uke Planet desk.
In truth all 24 tunes are highly likeable and I’m sure Chonkinfecklers across the land will all have their personal favourites whether it be from a lyric that makes them snicker or a particularly nifty riff or solo. Brew Time would be one of my choices as I can drink tea for Wales and I am drawn by the little hint of Bad Manners that comes through in that ska-like tempo (and title now I come to mention it). Brew Time also tips a lyrical nod to Chas N Dave… rabbit rabbit… and She’s Got The Monk On is as loveable as Arctic Monkeys’ Mardy Bum! Now there’s an association I didn’t expect to make but I suppose both bands have a passion for rhyming Northern slang, which I’ve always found can lead to some great original lyric twists and I am all for this technique.
The production is just perfect, a gentle vocal reverb with nice clean, gently mixed instrumentation. The whole CD is a fun and delightful treat, a celebration of truly merry music harking back to the glory days of folk and working men’s clubs. Fred Dibnah would be proud.
If you’ve never seen Chonkinfeckle live and want to know what you’re missing, buy the CD. If you have seen Chonkinfeckle live and thoroughly enjoyed them, buy the CD. If you have seen Chonkinfeckle live but didn’t enjoy them… well I can only deduce there must be something wrong with you! 😉