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OLD BLIND DOGS - Knucklehead Circus 

OLD BLIND DOGS - Knucklehead Circus 
Knucklehead Circus 

Produced during lockdown, this is an uplifting album of songs and tunes, both contemporary and vintage. A highlight for me is an OBD take on Davy Steele’s Farewell Tae The Haven, which is delivered with care and respect, although significantly up tempo from the Ceolbeg original.

The tune sets are really where Old Blind Dogs are in their element. Suite Bretonne is almost hypnotic in its driving swing. Gordon Duncan’s Thin Man, coupled with the traditional Hommage À Edmond Parizeau, is a solid medley. Similarly, the medley of the traditional Earl Of Jura and Jonny Hardie’s Akin’s Reel is a perfect showcase for the instrumental cohesion of the four members, building up from a slow air to a stomp. There’s a new take on John Douglas’ Wild Mountainside that is an absolute joy, featuring as it does the signature duetting of Jonny Hardie’s fiddle and Ali Hutton’s whistle playing. Ali Hutton’s medley, The Road, gives him a perfect excuse to let rip on his bagpipes, to driving effect. Throughout, Aaron Jones and Donald Hay ensure that the ship sails a straight course.

As we tentatively ease back towards live events, there is an obvious dance vibe throughout these tracks, which lends them to ensemble performance, and I for one cannot wait to catch OBD in concert.

Grem Devlin


This review appeared in Issue 142 of The Living Tradition magazine