Billy Bennington,
The Barford Angel
(Veteran, 2005)

Born into a musical family in 1900, Billy Bennington was destined to play music. His first instrument was a glockenspiel he received at age 6. Later, Billy discovered the hammered dulcimer -- an instrument he would play until he died in 1986.

The Barford Angel was Bennington's only solo album and was compiled with the help of his widow shortly after his death. The album opens with Billy telling how he got the name. He used to carry his dulcimer on his back while riding a bicycle. The larger end of the dulcimer's trapezoidal shape stuck out and looked like a pair of wings; hence the name, the "Barford Angel."

The Barford Angel is a collection of 24 tunes interspersed with stories by Bennington about places he visited. The slightly differently sound of Bennington's dulcimer comes from the type of beaters Bennington uses for playing. Bennington became a master at crafting dulcimer beaters using a hard cane wrapped in wool. This style of beater produces a mellow sound. Bennington also used to pluck the strings with his fingernails.

This recording is a dulcimer fan's delight. It should also please those who enjoy music from the old country.

review by
Sherrill Fulghum

30 June 2007

what's new