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Greentrax CDTRAX299

John Speirs and Fergus Mackenzie’s bass and drum on this CD is so funky, down and dirty, that you expect the godfather of soul, James Brown, to start singing Papas gotta brand new bag, any second. Just when you think it can’t get any funkier Finlay blasts in with the Great Highland Bagpipe and things get seriously dirty.  Throw in the duelling fiddle of Chris Stout and Kevin Mackenzie’s guitar and the album is in danger of getting an X rating.

As the undoubted lead troubadour of this band of merry men, Finlay MacDonald leads from the front with some sparkling playing. If Fred Morrison is the Hendrix of the pipes then Finlay is surely the Jimmy Page. Using a rake of his own tunes and some carefully garnered from the likes of R.S. MacDonald (Elav the Terrible), Chris Armstrong and Martyn Bennett (the brilliantly named Ud the Duduk) Finlay weaves his pipes in and out of the rhythm. This isn’t piping tracks with a backing, this is a band sound that just happens to have the pipes as the lead instrument.  Sparks really start flying when Chris Stout on fiddle or viola starts sparing with Finlay on pipes as the pace gets faster and faster as each player spurs the other on. 

Throw the usual Finlay MacDonald Eastern European influence add some delightful low whistle playing, particularly on the beautiful and laid back Miss Elliot’s, and top with a band that are tighter than Jordan’s bra strap and you have a band that are a class act. They sound like they enjoyed making this album it is certainly a joy to listen to. 

Chris MacKenzie.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 75 of The Living Tradition magazine.