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Stick Insect 
Artist: Nick Beggs
Label: Stick Enterprises Inc.
Tracks: 15/65:34

Readers of the Tollbooth will probably be most familiar with the work of Nick Beggs from his time as a member of the band Iona. For the past few years he has been touring with John Paul Jones as well as Midge Ure and a host of other European artists including Howard Jones. I have gotten a chance to see Nick play with Jones and drummer Teryl Bryant twice over the past two years and continue to be amazed at his abilities on his instrument of choice, the Chapman Stick. Fergus Marsh once described the instrument as a 2 by 4 with strings. For more information on this instrument check out www.stick.com. 

After spending years as a sideman, Nick has released his first solo project entitled Insect Stick and it is a wonderful listening experience. Except for occasional help from Dave Bainbridge, Martin Lister and Steve Wren, this is a solo album in the truest sense of the word. Almost everything on this album is played on The Stick. The project consists of fifteen original tunes of the instrumental variety, all of which were either written or co written by Nick. Some of the tunes on the album go toward the lighter side yet he also knows how to cook up a mighty fine musical stew. There are pieces here of quiet tenderness but there are other numbers that would blow the roof off of any auditorium or club. For those unfamiliar with The Stick, think of a stringed instrument where you can play both bass and rhythm or lead parts simultaneously. In the hands of a master like Nick, it is an awesome thing to behold. Each song comes with a short explanation as to its reason for being written. The album was written, arranged, engineered, performed and produced by Nick Beggs. If you ever get a chance to see him perform live, by all means take the opportunity, it will be a night you will long remember. Check out his web site at www.nickbeggs.co.uk.

Chris MacIntosh aka Grandfather Rock  10/12/2002

   
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