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SANDY BRECHIN AND FRIENDS - The Sunday Night Sessions

SANDY BRECHIN AND FRIENDS - The Sunday Night Sessions
Brechin All Records  CDBAR007Brechin All Records  CDBAR007

As an Edinburgh-born exile in the West coast, I often seek excuses to travel back to the capital for a bit of nostalgia (not always drink-fuelled!) and for most of the nineties and the noughties, if it involved a Sunday night, then a visit to the Ensign Ewart pub at the top of the Royal Mile was essential, since that was where you could find legendary sessions hosted by accordion maestro Sandy Brechin and a variety of his chums.

Some of the idiosyncrasies of the pub management meant that the customers never quite knew how they would be treated, but the quality of the music was always guaranteed.

This CD is a collection of tunes and songs from the regular core of these sessions, and is a grand representation of what you could have expected, from rollicking reels to slow airs, ensemble and solo work.  It’s largely a studio album, but still retains the feel of the session, no doubt due to Sandy’s involvement in mixing and mastering as well as playing. The last normal track is a live one, with the expected slightly rougher edges, but it does lend more authenticity.

As a bonus, the opening set of Gordon Duncan tunes is played again, this time by Gordon in his own house (complete with barking background dog!) The helpful; booklet gives full background details of all the musicians and tunes, and also gives informed insight on pub management, and, even though the Ensign Ewart no longer hosts them, the regulars now play their Sunday sessions in Haymarket’s Carter’s Bar. Listen to this, then go and sample it for yourself.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 88 of The Living Tradition magazine.