Fraser Bruce - Auld Hat New Heids/Bob Leslie – Land and Sea/Paul Anderson – The High Summit.
These three CDs arrived from CD/PR company Birnam based in Perthshire.
Fraser Bruce’s album is a look back at the1960s and 1970s heyday of Scottish folk clubs (the first track, Prelude, is a song made up from a list of these). He uses his song writing skills to successfully evoke this period with its associated shipbuilding, fishing and factory work. Also included are some well-known songs; Shoals of Herrin’, The Diamond Ship and Twa Recruiting Sergeants. The songs are nicely accompanied by guitar, accordion and fiddle.
Bob Leslie writes songs using Old Scottish stories and his own memory and experience. These are mostly of a moderate tempo, but Tho We Lang Syne Landit Oan Fair Isle is more interesting for its upbeat style and Big Dead Bob has a nice country feel to it. Kate Kramer and Wendy Wetherby provide the fiddle and cello accompaniments which sometimes verge into interesting classical-esque arrangements.
Apart from one song featuring vocalist Shona Donaldson, Paul Anderson’s album is purely instrumental, a vehicle to show off his excellent fiddling and composing skills. Many of the tracks are slow airs with keyboard backing, a score for a travelogue of the Scottish hills maybe. In contrast, Andrew Smith of Torphins is a lovely upbeat number, and Hornpipes rolls along nicely with its prominent, rhythmical piano. Other tunes of note include waltz The Coull Wedding and Strathspey Braeriach. These are three contrasting albums which remain resolutely Scottish.
Reviews by Val Haines