Cook is the quintessentially laid-back singer-songwriter, an apparently unruffable soul who sings songs of sensitivity and gently scathing wit in a softly assured way. Hellard is a mercurial Englishman, grabbing an eclectic selection of songs spontaneously from memory and mixing enthusiasm, ability and a fair amount of approximation into his guitar accompaniments and harmonica adventures.
Hellard rather stole the show here but only in terms of duration; the lasting moments mostly belonged to Cook, whose opening song removed any semblance of romance from his job, in an endearingly poetic way, by likening the troubadour's life to that of a stripper ("trying to turn on drunks") and a farmer ("struggling to pay the bills") and other professions.
He has a quiet storyteller's manner with both lyrics and song introductions that underlines the honesty in his own songs and the way he delivers other writers' works.
His singing of the neglected Greg Brown's The Poet Game, to typically understated but warmly effective guitar picking, made a strong case for Brown deserving to be discovered by a wider audience.
But then, the same might be said of Cook himself. He moves easily from the bluesy, on Use Your Imagination, to the matter of fact, with Pass It Along's assertion that valuable possessions are not owned, just held in trust.
In a memorable parting shot he presaged some gentle, humorous warnings to anyone getting above themselves with an equally humorous but much sharper attack on the finance industry, The Lord Giveth (And The Landlord Taketh Away).