Norbury & Finch,
Tease for Two
(Sound Advice, 2000)

Judging only from the cover art, I expected a handful of sweet songs written for lovers and children and far-away places visited once and never forgotten. I did get what I expected, but I got a lot more of what I didn't. At times slow and lovely, at others quick and lively, Tease for Two is like a musical buffet line that offers something to please every listener. To say this CD is full of surprises is a bit of an understatement.

The first surprise was immediate; I had to look twice to make sure I had read correctly. One of the instruments used in the first song is a "nose coronet." OK, I was raised with brothers; I know many body parts make noise. I just hadn't heard of a nose coronet. And I certainly hadn't heard of one being played by a woman. And I never expected it to sound like a real coronet. The delighted smirk was just fading when I discovered surprise No. 2. A love song -- from a female black widow spider's point of view! I finally decided to just settle in and enjoy myself.

The duo of Judy Norbury and Joanna Finch is a perfect pairing. Both have lovely voices with unlimited range and have written songs that highlight not only their vast musical talents but also their wit, humor and boundless love of life as well. Each came from musical households and cites as influences jazz, folk, Celtic, rock, hymns and Broadway showtunes. Those influences are highly apparent. "Working Man" could easily be a cover of an old '30s or '40s hit. "Quiver Me" is obviously a sea chantey and a very bawdy one at that. "Toad's Lament" would play well on the soundtrack of a Disney movie. "Sweet Love" brings to mind a smoky piano bar with a blonde bombshell lounging across the piano in something sequined and slinky. The more serious "Black Bird" is a heartbroken mother's lament.

The many talented musicians joining Norbury (vocals and dulcimer) and Finch (vocals, viola, flute, pennywhistle, nose coronet, zills) are: Todd Butler (guitars, vocals, percussion), Sean Mooney (piano), Vince Ditrich (drums), Lee Oliphant (bass), Dale Graham (vocals and Celtic harp), Mary Lynn DesRoches (vocals and accordion), Rick Van Krugel (mandolin, octave mandolin), Nick McGowan (clarinet and saxophone), Harry Hill (violin), Robert Grant (drums), Marcia Haley (cello and recorder), Michael Gau (trombone), Linda Safford (vocals). The result is a full 14 tracks of versatile and witty enjoyment.

- Rambles
written by Sheree Morrow
published 15 March 2003