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FRASER NIMMO - The Best Of Five And A Wee Bit Live

The Best Of Five And A Wee Bit Live
Private Label  SPEUG022

This was given to me by the man himself and I couldn't wait to get it on the static jukebox in the "hoose". It’s a grand mixture from this blithe stravaigin' songwriter of 40 years - with a great line up to support him. The whole line up of Fairport Convention on the live tracks and Maartin Allcock (acoustic/electric guitars), Chris Haigh ( fiddle), Ben Bennion (slide/guitar), Spencer Richards (harmonica) and Ian Bolens (acoustic 6/12 string, slide, bass guitars and backing vocals) on studio recordings of twenty tracks covering a well defined career and the four albums previous. Like he says on his sleeve notes, "there is nothing like surrounding yourself with brilliance".

Fraser’s own songs along with the three traditional numbers sit side by side with the comfort of a big easy two seater settee, but making you want to sit up straight in your chair and listen.

The Road Tae Dundee is sung with such simple beauty that it becomes like a new song again. Also with Loch Lomond, which the younger generation thought was a Runrig heid banging, hip-hop tune frae "teucher" land somewhere north of Stirling. His musical arrangement is played with the nostalgic, lamentable time signature that takes the song back to its original state and intention of how it should be sung.

Stand out self penned songs like Rough and Rowdy Ways, about getting old disgracefully and not giving in easily, shows us the way to conquer ageism.  Nothing of Love is the affair from Hell that teaches us no' tae dae that an' be so stupid!!

Any Spare Change turns on the greed of the Thatcher era that amongst other evils imposed, left people homeless and struggling, through no fault of their own. The stunning instrumental Cianalas (gaelic for homesickness) shows the man’s talent for writing great tunes and songs that you will want to listen to again and again.

This album is worth more than the asking price of a £10 note, but the man gives superb value for money and I guarantee you won't be disappointed, so lock the door, grab a 'dram and mellow to the very best of the man who says he will "Sing Until He Dies" what a way to go.

Duncan Stewart

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This album was reviewed in Issue 87 of The Living Tradition magazine.