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His long associations and friendships, made too, to add to the variety; eighteenth-century
on this journey, with singers of the calibre of manuscript tunes rub alongside present-day
Joe Holmes and Eddie Butcher are all reflected pennings with no noticeable joins.
There are new arrangements of some of
The thirteen unaccompanied traditional songs, Alistair’s earlier pieces, such as Franklin River,
ballads and lilts were recorded live in April from the Steel Skies album, which was a major
2008 in St Pauls, Minnesota and all are linked composition in its time. This CD gives us the
by Len’s engaging commentary. His warmth latest “long” composition, the Farne Islands, a
and depth of tone, musicality, crystal clear 23 minute reflection on those rocky guardians
diction and expressive delivery all come across of the Northumbrian coast. The band fuse
with a remarkable presence and immediacy. their sounds of concertina, fiddles, cello,
This is technically and aesthetically a highly clarsach, whistle, oboe and pipes admirably to
satisfying performance package. We have My conjure up images of gurly seas pounding their
Parents Reared Me Tenderly a song from the relentless way.
Crimean war period via Joe Holmes and a lively
and finely paced The Beggarman (Child 279) This is an outstanding new composition, which
also from Joe. Then again we have, what has will be a reference point for the way in which
become one of Len’s trademark songs, The traditional themes can be used in wider musical
Boys of Mullaghbawn, a transportation song settings.
and ‘one of the few in the Irish tradition that
praises the landlord’. All in all, this is a virtuoso performance from a
true musical great.
A particular favourite of mine, which survives
well in Scotland, Ireland and North America, is Gordon Potter
The Lass of Glenshee originally from the pen
of Perth shoemaker, Andrew Sharp, written in
1817. The songs range in mood and character
from the comic to the tragic and the album
closes, appropriately, with a lovely version of
The Parting Glass. This is song and singing of Northern Echoes –
the highest order.
Live on the Tyne

Geordie McIntyre
Tantobie Records TTRCD110
White Meadow Records WMR2008CD
Well I suppose it was about time for another
live album from Jez and his current Pennies,
and this is generally a belter on most counts.
Most of the live favourites are here (Chick
Henderson’s March, Davis and Golightly and
Alistair Anderson is without doubt one of the all- The Famous Working Man are especially
time greats of Northumbrian music. In addition notable, but in fairness all 17 tracks jolly
to his masterly playing of English concertina along nicely). The Bad Pennies, perform
and Northumbrian pipes, he is noted for his sympathetically throughout – and there’s a full
work in widening the net of traditional music 70 minutes of sounds to get you teeth into,
through such schemes as Folkworks, whose reinforcing the ‘gigness’ of the CD. Jez has
partnership with Newcastle University has led worked tirelessly to bring his take on North
to their degree course in traditional music. He Eastern life to a wider audience, and more and
is also a great researcher of old tunes and more of us have got the message - his bulging
composer of modern music, which is hugely gig list is testament to this.
influenced by his native traditions.
As is becoming the norm these days, the
This latest CD sees Alistair teaming up with package comes with a ‘bonus’ DVD, which is
Martin Simpson, guitars; Emma Reid, fiddle; Ian mostly excepts from three live performances,
Stephenson, Guitar and the Alistair Anderson interspersed with interviews and fly-on-the-wall
Band. Together they all contribute to an album, style filming of the planning process of the
which displays a wide range of moods, from show. For the live performance, the BP line
quiet and contemplative to driving and exciting. up expands to include the wonderful voice
There’s a blend of older and newer tunes, and melodeon of Benny Graham and Shona
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 37
Issue82.indd 37 24/2/09 14:00:59
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