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SALTFISHFORTY - Orkney Twister

Orkney Twister
Cellar Records CRSFF0205

Douglas Montgomery and Brian Cromarty, fiddler and singer/guitarist from Orkney, have played together for decades but only released their excellent debut CD Goose Music a couple of years ago. Orkney Twister is the follow-up, a second helping of feisty fiddle and gutsy guitar plus a few bluesy songs. Their style is a mix of traditional and old-time, underpinned by the swing rhythms typical of Scotland's northern isles. Most of the tunes and songs are original: catchy reels like Beef and Sandy Cromarty's, easy grace on Laid Back Ruby, sheer fiddle power on the strathspey Stompin' Laura. These are complemented by several gems from other contemporary composers: slow magic in John Harvey's Orcadia and the Cape Breton favourite The Sweetness of Mary, and quicksilver fiddling on a pair of David Eunson's reels and the James Hill classic The Hawk to finish.

Montgomery's fiddle is the star of the show for me, but Cromarty's voice runs it a close second and his accompaniments are a big part of Saltfishforty's considerable charm. Low points are rare on Orkney Twister, and highlights abound. There's a fine virtuoso rendition of The Banks, a couple of great modern ballads in We Went Dancing and For You, a lovely jigs'n'reels medley ending with The Elusive Otter, and the zany Breadbin Blues from a man brave enough to rhyme "toast" with "cost". This album has quality written right through it. And it's fun too. Satisfaction guaranteed, or your sense of humour back.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 68 of The Living Tradition magazine.