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THE McCALMANS - Peace And Plenty

THE McCALMANS - Peace And Plenty
Greentrax CDGMP8009

Volume Nine in Greentrax's Celtic Collections series presents a complete reissue of a classic album from one of Scotland's finest and most enduring harmony-and song-based groups who (in one format or another) have travelled the world for over forty years as ambassadors for Scottish music of the rousing and accessible kind, making no artistic or commercial concessions in their quest to ensure acceptance of their nation's music.

Peace And Plenty first appeared on Greentrax in 1986 (is it really twenty years old? - for it sounds as fresh today as it did then!) and ended up being awarded a SRIA Gold Disc. Then, when it was re-released on CD in 1990, two extra tracks (Scotland and Falkirk Tryste, both originally recorded for the Ancestral Manoeuvres album) were added. The group line-up for this album was Ian McCalman, Derek Moffat and Nick Keir (the latter having replaced original member Hamish Bayne some four years earlier) and immensely popular it was too. Here, four of Ian's compositions join three of Nick's, with similarly vibrant renditions of contemporary material by Stan Rogers (Barratt's Privateers), Judy Small (Mothers, Daughters, Wives) Meek/Conolly (Men Of The Sea) and Colin Wilkie (Down In Your Mines, here incorrectly credited as trad by the way!); the remainder of the album comprises (four) typically lively arrangements of traditional material (including a harmony-drenched medley of shanties) and a well-played set of tunes.

Refreshingly free of gimmicks and replete with solid professionalism, Peace And Plenty is a well balanced and largely timeless-sounding set which for the most part hasn't dated (though I do rather quickly tire of Ian's Song For Europe I'm afraid!). Great to have it restored to the catalogue.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 71 of The Living Tradition magazine.