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SANDY STANAGE "Crossing the Line" Fishtail ftcd001

Although he is already familiar to most Scottish folkies, through providing the rock solid guitar backing to artistes too numerous to mention, and for his membership of many bands, this is his first foray into solo album land. The guitar techniques displayed are formidable, but in common with many guitarists, a proportion of his repertoire takes serious liberties with the original composers' intended tempos. Scott Joplin famously had the following legend added to the top of all his sheet music - 'Ragtime must always be played SLOW'. This point is often ignored by guitarists, who when challenged as to why they play rags too fast reply 'because we can' or similar pladitudinous tripe. Thus Joplin's 'The Entertainer' is played at a nonsensical speed. Similarly, the beautiful (slow) Irish air 'Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór' is mistakenly performed at the speed of its must faster bastard cousin ('The Little Fairy Hill and the Big Fairy Hill' or similar titles).

The album comprises entirely of guitar 'party pieces', well recorded and produced with care and will I'm sure be snapped up by those who ken Sandy already. I'm confidant that folk guitarists will love the tunes and their arrangements - but don't expect to hear anything groundbreaking - you will instead hear a strangely familiar club guitarist recorded with a care and clarity not possible at your average folk club (so most of you will never have heard him so good!).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 43 of The Living Tradition magazine.