Album review: PAUL WALKER & KAREN PFEIFFER – Auf Wiedersehen, Me Duck

PAUL WALKER & KAREN PFEIFFER – Auf Wiedersehen, Me Duck

Crazy Moose Records [Release date 30.04.22]

Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer are a folk duo who have been writing and performing since 2012. Karen is originally from Stuttgart, however, her southern German accent is already tinged with a ‘Staffordshire oatcake induced’ dialect from Paul’s industrial heritage of Stoke-on-Trent (a wonderful place says this non-biased fellow Stokie!). The album features some of folk’s finest musicians including Paul Hutchinson (accordion) and Ciaran Algar (fiddle).

The duo are so good at taking you back to a period of time with their lyrics and music. ‘Our Golden Age’ being a prime example, looking back at the industrial age of towns like Stoke and other Midland and Northern towns and cities. Shows how the once fit and strong workers are now sadly a shadow of their former selves, as indeed are many of the places where they live. ‘The Answer’ follows a similar path covering Paul’s ‘life story’ of working in the factories in Stoke, to following his music dreams, taking on the ‘corporate machine’ in London and then back to music.

There are some light hearted moments to enjoy as well, notably ‘The Rejected Songwriters’ Club’, which many an aspiring songwriter can relate to I am sure! Social media also comes into their songwriting sights on ‘No Time (The Facebook Blues)’. A bluesy number as the title suggests, highlighting how we never have enough time it seems when we’re on the socials.

They do a lovely version of the Joan Baez classic ‘Diamonds and Rust’, where Ciaran Algar’s fiddle playing adds the icing to the cake. Their working of ‘Peat Bog Soldiers’ is pretty darn special too as they sing it in German and English.

A live version of ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Me Duck’ closes the album in style and includes that folk staple, an audience sing-a-long. There lies one of the duo’s key strengths in that they can tackle political and historical issues, whilst also happy to take themselves not too seriously at times.

Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer are a very talented duo, mixing folk, blues and musical storytelling into an enjoyable pot pourri of songs. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

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