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ROSS MUNRO - Twisted Tradition

ROSS MUNRO - Twisted Tradition
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX384

This one is a bit different. Ross Munro is a former member of The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, with whom he recorded the Spirit Of The Glen trilogy of albums; a popular series which showcased the pipes and drums of the Scots Dragoons with a full orchestra backing. Ross is now retired from the army and is concentrating on his own career in music, and this is his first album which he recorded at Offbeat Studios in Edinburgh and licensed to Greentrax.

Several well known traditional tunes sit alongside a few of his own to create 13 varied sets. As you would expect, Ross handles the pipes well, and he also plays whistles – the times where both are featured together are particularly pleasing. Ross is also responsible for the Midi arrangements which permeate the album, providing a synth/drum/bass backing to the tracks, and he is joined on a couple of tunes by friends on bass, guitars, drums, vocals and brass.

It is what it is – rocked up, synth laden, pipe music with a twist. Some people will love it, others will hate it. I find some of the sounds a bit dated, and at times slightly clichéd, but at other times it is fun and I am sure it will sell well to those who hear Ross live. Some tracks fare better than others. Gordon Duncan’s The Sleeping Tune can perhaps take this kind of treatment as it has a hypnotic sense already. The High Road To Linton, however, cannot.

After the restrictions and discipline that come with playing in a pipe band format, Ross is now able to let loose his “twisted” take on these tunes. He does so well, though I am not sure they measure up to the output of others who have recorded in a similar vein.

Michael White

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This album was reviewed in Issue 110 of The Living Tradition magazine.