The full title of this album is ‘Holland’s Finest Banjo & Accordion Duo... according to our moms’, and while their moms may indeed be incredibly proud of sons Sjoerd van Ravenzwaaij and Tom van Aarle, it must be said that those feelings are certainly justifiable. I certainly concur they are the finest banjo and accordion duo I have ever come across, although of course that statement must be tempered with the statement that after more than 30 years of writing reviews I have never come across another. The two are members of the band Acting The Maggot, and it was while touring and sharing a hotel room that the idea came about of working together as a duo.
There are actually a few other guests involved in the album, but sadly I have not been able to discover the details of the woman who adds her vocals to some songs, as she really manages to grab the Dutchmen and pull them firmly into Americana. I do not own that many albums where there is a feature accordion player, apart from The Whisky Priests of course, and the combination with banjo is rather strange at times. The banjo does not have much in the way of sustain, which makes it quite a staccato instrument, and this does not always jell well with the accordion, which is far more languorous, and although there are times when it comes together incredibly well such as on the instrumental “Lament for a Changing Society”, there are others where the music is crying out for a bass to pull it all together. Due to this the album often feels quite incomplete yet is still enjoyable all the same. Their take on “La Tempesta di Mare”, a classic piece by Vivaldi is wonderful, but it is made by the additional flute and drums as opposed to just the duo themselves and is totally at odds with the rather silly and fun “Diga Diga Doo”. A nice album while not being essential.