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STEPHEN QUIGG - The McCalmans Collection

STEPHEN QUIGG - The McCalmans Collection
Lowland Recordings LOWLAND017

From July 2001 until December 2010, Stephen was a member of the influential trio widely regarded as one of Scotland’s premier ambassadors for folk music, the McCalmans. He’s now taken the opportunity to collect together 18 of the songs he sang with them, songs which he continues to enjoy singing at his solo gigs to this day. These are lovingly assembled in an eminently listenable sequence for this release, playing through which the memories really come flooding back. (Of course, the collection is every bit as much a tribute to Stephen’s colleagues Ian McCalman and Nick Keir, so it’s misleading to file or market it as a Stephen Quigg solo record).

Running the broad gamut of moods and emotions for which the McCalmans were renowned, the Collection includes grand favourites like the perennially rousing Wha’s Like Us and The Gallant Murray, stirring anthems like The Lying Truth alongside the wistful beauty of Voice Of My Island and the poignant nostalgia of Farm Auction and No More Sailing, occasionally interlaced with a cheeky humour (Bodhrans And Banjos). The booklet doesn’t in as many words own up to the sources of the recordings, beyond the descriptions “licensed from” (the four named releases which he recorded with the group during his tenure) – or “stolen from”, in the case of the Tangled Web album – although there’s a re-mastering credit. What matters, though, is the quality and consistency of the material and performances, which is indisputable.

So this CD can be thoroughly recommended to those who are only now discovering the legacy of the McCalmans, as well as any more general lovers of this special brand of top-quality Scottish folk music, one that’s contemporary in outlook yet has more than a foot in the tradition it espouses.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 97 of The Living Tradition magazine.