DEOCH 'n 'DORUS Deoch 'N 'Dorus

Deoch 'N 'Dorus
Skipinnish SKIPCD06

This trio of youngsters presents a tasty sample of Scottish music, mainly dance music in the West Highland tradition. Plenty of Gaelic airs, pipe marches and the occasional Irish reel: they do tend to sneak into the Scottish repertoire. Starting with 'Frank's Reel' by John McCusker, there's a thorough mix of new and old. Amongst the established favourites are the 6/8 march 'Angus MacKinnon', the stomping jig 'Wee Murdie', 'Dick Gossip's Reel' and the Gaelic waltz 'Leaving Barra'. Alongside these sit modern treasures such as 'Break Yer Bass Drone' from the late great Gordon Duncan, 'The Slalom Skier' by John Barnes, and 'Wee Muffin Cameron' by the band's piano box-player Stuart Cameron.

As well as Stuart, Deoch'n'Dorus comprises Simon Moran on fiddle and Andrew MacPherson on drums and pipes. I'm not sure who's Jock and who's Doris. There are a few guest appearances, particularly on piano and guitar, plus a Gaelic love song from Darren MacLean and a border pipe cameo by Ross Ainslie. All these musicians come out of the Glasgow course in Scottish music, and it's slightly surprising that this album sounds so traditional: almost all of it would fit with Fergie MacDonald or the Wallochmor. Donald Black is obviously a major influence too. Innovation isn't the goal here: it's the enduring appeal of good music well played, and Deoch'n'Dorus provide that in spades.

'The Eavesdropper', 'The Little Cascade', 'The Seagull', 'The 79th's Farewell', 'Lucy Campbell', and 'Fleshmarket Close' : all are delivered with verve and vigour by this tight combo. There's a lovely slow air by Derek Rae, and a snappy strathspey by Simon. Most tracks are fiddle, box and drums, but the boys ring the changes often enough. There are some missing notes in a few tunes, and the fiddle is a little exposed at times, but this is rattling good stuff overall and a very impressive debut CD.

Alex Monaghan

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