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group’s dichotomy, with songs and tunes a little gem here. But what would you expect
almost seeming to come from different bands, from a member of The Queensbury Rules!
although as expected from this bunch all
of it superbly played. The tunes are newly-
Dave Beeby
composed, but stick fairly closely to traditional
Scottish models - plenty of zip and life, some
cÀIRDEAS
Cuban rhythms (El Cumbanchero) and a bit
of a shock when a well-known Scott Skinner
Autumn
tune suddenly appears, whilst the songs are CAIRCD001
a particularly Scottish take on what I would
think of as Americana (Scotiana?). More Càirdeas (pronounced to rhyme with Tardis)
James Yorkton than Jimmy McBeath, as is a trio of top Scottish musicians with
is only expected from a band who toured considerable pedigrees, who originally got
accompanying “Bonnie” Prince Billy (check round to performing together as a group in
that album out – ‘Is It The Sea’ for their 2006 and have been delighting audiences
wonderful version of ‘Molly Bawn’ - I wonder ever since with their genially professional
whether that was their idea or Oldham’s?). approach and accommodating stage
Both sides of the coin are beautifully done, presence. Comprising fiddler Iain Anderson,
although the breathy, childlike vocals may be piper/whistle player Neil Paterson and
a bit of an acquired taste (try their version of guitar/mando supremo Colin Ramage, this
‘Is It The Sea’ - beautiful and wistful). As you is clearly a crack team who can give nothing
only get 46 minutes here, if you only like one less than keenly accomplished playing to suit
side of the band repertoire it’s quite expensive, any occasion – and so it proves on this disc.
but having heard it a few times it’s one I shall The menu comprises six well-assembled (if
certainly be returning to. quite straightforward) traditional tune-sets, all
expertly managed and fierily played, between
Paul Burgess which are sandwiched five songs. To be
honest, I felt the latter to be an unadventurous
PHIL HULSE
choice, mostly rather well-trodden repertoire
items – Queen Of All Argyll, Twa Recruitin’
Unpredicted Storm
Sergeants, Both Sides The Tweed etc – and
FELLSIDE FECD217
although the Càirdeas renditions are perfectly
proficient (Colin sings them well too) they don’t
This CD, by one third of the excellent trio The
stand out from an already crowded field and
Queensbury Rules, arrived to be reviewed just
tend to fall short of adding anything genuinely
prior to Christmas. It would have been easy
new as interpretations. And I really couldn’t
for it to have been lost in the many seasonal
see the point of including a bog-standard sing-
offerings of that time of year. I am glad to say
along run-through of Dirty Old Town.
it wasn’t.
The sticking-point with this disc is that I
Phil has served his apprenticeship in that band
came away feeling pleasantly entertained but
gaining recognition as songwriter, vocalist and
comparatively under whelmed, in that these
on things stringed. After gaining recognition
musicians are capable of so much more than
for the quality of his lyrics on the band’s ‘Black
this. Having said that, there’s no way the
Dog’ album he was responsible for the anthem-
playing or singing can be faulted, and there’s
like ‘I Still Believe In England’ on their follow
ample commitment and stylish musicality on
up. It was, therefore, only natural that he would
display – so there’s no doubting the disc will
want the challenge of doing a solo album,
please those listeners seeking a modest (if in
and of being alone in live performances. On
the final analysis mildly unchallenging) record
‘Unexpected Storm’ he shows that he can rise
of Scottish (mostly traditional) fare.
to that challenge.
David Kidman
Using minimalistic accompaniment this
CD is full of gems-many based on his own
JOHN MccUSKER
experiences or with a strong sense of his local
heritage. Don’t bother with the old adage of
Yella Hoose/Goodnight Ginger
saving the best ‘til last, we go straight in with NAVIGATOR7CD
the outstanding ‘Not In My Name’ about the
plight of the mothers of two young soldiers A double-pack reissue of two of this talented
and their ultimate sense of frustration. Another musician’s albums. Well-known for his work
strong song is ’Lovers In A Nanny State’ and with Battlefield Band and the Kate Rusby Band
all the invasions of privacy. His song about as well as a superb solo musician these two
Cyprus’ divided capital seems especially albums are a good way of getting to know his
poignant as it is only a couple of years since I work. Aided by a slew of terrific musicians
stood on the same green line. There are many to help out, (including a couple of lovely
more equally good songs, with plenty of social songs from Kate) such as Phil Cunningham,
and political comment, including a new version this was never going to be anything short of
of ‘Heritage and History’- the sentiments of excellent – and excellent it is. Fairly low key
which seem to underpin much of ‘Unexpected – the performances, even the few up-tempo
Storm’. For me the stand out quality Phil numbers, are very controlled and gentle – an
shows on this work is the excellence of occasional burst of passion wouldn’t have
his lyrics-something Bob Harris has also come amiss – and this is exaggerated by
commented on, and he should know! the tone of the fiddle that he uses. It sounds
almost as if he is using an electric instrument
Well recorded and produced as always from (Bridge violins do get a credit) but there is little
this label, ‘Unexpected Storm’ is definitely character about the instrument, apart from a
worth a listen or two. Phil Hulse has produced bit of acidity, and everything is rather smooth
Sponsored by BIrnam CD The Living Tradition - Page 39
Issue82.indd 39 24/2/09 14:01:04
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