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FRASER & IAN BRUCE - The Best Of Mrs Bruce’s Boys

FRASER & IAN BRUCE - The Best Of Mrs Bruce’s Boys
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX385

Sixteen fine and substantial songs make up this excellent compilation album from Ian and Fraser Bruce. The brothers, who played and recorded in the 80s, have now combined their musical talents again. Five live performances from 2015 combine seamlessly with tracks from their earlier albums. Nowhere is the sense of any material being dated.

The brothers perform on guitars and vocals on all the tracks, variously backed by highly competent band members. Ian’s clear and melodic voice is the key feature throughout, although Fraser and he harmonise beautifully, particularly on Broken Down Squatter and Grey Funnel Line.

The variety of material prevents any suggestion of repetition. Only two compositions are by Ian, White Flower being new, but there are welcome versions of well-known songs – so that Farewell To The Gold; Ring-A-Rosie, and the almost music-hall A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day all find a place. Six traditional songs are covered, including Can Ye Sew Cushions and the haunting, Bonnie Susie Clelland. Two “pop” compositions – Richard Thompson’s Down Where The Drunkards Roll and Al Stewart’s unusual Nostradamus - also get in. While all these songs retain their original magic, their treatment here gives them a freshness and new life.

Jaunty, upbeat, easily accessible, and with 15 sing-along choruses, The Best Of Mrs Bruce’s Boys is a highly enjoyable listen and an ideal example of the folk-group genre – it comes close to replicating the feel of a folk-club set.

Jim McCourt

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This album was reviewed in Issue 112 of The Living Tradition magazine.