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JAMES TAIT - The Long Journey Home

JAMES TAIT - The Long Journey Home
Private Label JT001CD

It’s all very well taking an existing work from the tradition or from contemporary sources and putting your own spin on it, but to compose and create an album of new and original material is no mean feat and quite laudable. James Tait, in his album The Long Journey Home, has done just that with a collection of 17 compositions. Arguably there is something for everyone on the album and “therein lies the rub” as Shakespeare would have it. The music is quite diverse in its scope, from ceilidh style dance tunes to waltzes and some really quite superb atmospheric reels which deserve to be given a broader platform in music sessions up and down the country. From my perspective, it is obvious James has a natural talent but I personally could have done without the basic dance tunes which, in their performance, seem very old fashioned and, dare I say it, rather clumsy, with too much emphasis on a Mrs Mills style of piano playing. This is rather a curate’s egg criticism as elsewhere on the CD the piano is subtle and a complete foil to the very accomplished sensitive fiddle playing, notable in Round A January Fire, Thinking Of Home, October’s End, Coplish, Holystone Well and especially in the Bluebells At Barrowburn.

There is no precise rule concerning the balance of a composition and each artist must decide for themselves which instrument deserves precedence. As an unbiased listener, the work is at its best when the violin is slightly to the fore and the piano accompaniment supports, enhances and weaves in and out of the melody. The Long Journey Home, the title track, is a case in question which has a powerful resonance that touches inner feelings that only a superb tune can.

John Oke Bartlett

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This album was reviewed in Issue 116 of The Living Tradition magazine.