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THE TOUR-A-RURAL CEILIDH BAND - The Accidental Death Of An Accordionist
Brechin All Records CDBAR005

The “legendary comedy ceilidh murder mystery theatre show” The Accidental Death Of An Accordionist underwent a phenomenally successful nine-week tour this summer, including three weeks at the Edinburgh Festival fringe.  The show, originally inspired by the eccentricities of daily life on a small estate near Forres, was written by Euan Martin and Dave Smith; its humble inaugural tour as a 2001 Highland Festival commission had by 2008 matured to a major remount.  So this purported-soundtrack album should be an absolute hoots-mon, right?  But sad to report, although it bodes well and promises much, it delivers little.  It’s a mere 26-minute, eight-track squib that just alternates instrumental sets with songs, giving no sense of plot or concordance with the stage show (at least, that’s how it comes across).  The booklet credits the music on the disc to Sandy Brechin and Annie Grace, with Aly Macrae & the Macrazy Vaudeville Orchestra and Richie Werner – so the musicianship is not in doubt.  The ceilidh sets are played with verve and vigour, with felicitous scoring and foot-stepping fun, and stand alone: no further comment.  Of the four songs, three are originals (by Jimmie Macgregor and Allan Henderson): jokey cameo-tableaux ostensibly sung by individual “characters” from the show.  Amusing enough on one hearing, but…  The fourth vocal track is a throwaway cover of the old doowop number Only You – pointless (unless someone who’s seen the show can tell me otherwise!).  So it all feels like a rather tame exercise, and not exactly accidental – in that RoSPA or the Health & Safety Executive have stepped in to prevent the accidents, for in the end no deaths occur and no accordionists were harmed in the making of this CD.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 82 of The Living Tradition magazine.