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Park Records PRKCD107

If you wanted to condense a 25 year/14 album career into one album, admittedly a double CD, most people wouldn’t know where to start – and KT freely admits that her preferences today would differ from those in a week’s time. So this has to be a compromise. Understandably, I suppose, she has picked six tracks from her most recent album (Instrumental) and the other 25 from 10 of the 13 others, plus one, Pipes Lament, seemingly previously unreleased.

Most are her own compositions or arrangements – but there’s the obligatory Alistair Anderson and Billy Pigg compositions as you would expect. Both CDs give the listener a variety of Northumbrian pipe tunes with the occasional narrative side order. Despite KT’s claim that her music has changed radically over 25 years, my view is that she started off with the bar set so high that much of her output since has been open to comparison – and seldom found wanting. (She’s a fab fiddle player too it must be noted.)

There’s not much here for Kathryn Tickell completists – we’ve already got our fair share of her albums, but this is an almost perfect introduction for the uninitiated. I might have appreciated a bit more background information about the various band members and the development of ‘that sound’, but it seems churlish to find this as a fault. This should serve to direct the listener toward the parent albums where the said info can be found.

High points musically for me are Hareshaw Burn (not an injury) and Bill Charlton’s Fancy (not a cake), but in truth, as they say “it’s all good”.


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This album was reviewed in Issue 86 of The Living Tradition magazine.