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JOCK DUNCAN "Tae the Greenwoods gaen" Sleepytown Records SLPYCD010

Five years ago, at the tender age of 71, balladeer Jock Duncan made his first solo album. It took reviewers and public alike by storm and opened up for him a new world of concert and festival appearances the length and breadth of the UK.

He sings the songs the way he heard them all those years ago and on this album he is performing as well as ever. He has chosen a very pleasing mixture of ballads and cornkisters and while there may be literally hundreds of years between some of the songs (side by side you'll find "The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre" by Jock's idol of the 'Thirties, G S Morris; the Greig-Duncan collected "Sir Patrick Spens" and Davy Steele's "The Last Trip Home") there is a common thread running through them all.

Of the seventeen songs on the album there is a 12:5 split between Jock accompanied and Jock solo and praise is due to James Alexander for the perfectly weighted musical accompaniment on accordion and fiddle. Full marks, too, to Ronnie Cairns of Sleepytown Records for producing the accompanying 24-page booklet giving not only the song words but also some historical notes on the subjects as well as Jock's own comments on their background. I've been an admirer of Jock Duncan for over thirty years and have had the pleasure of sharing a stage with him and enjoying his performances from Age Concern and WRI concerts right through to a star-studded Gala Evening at Pitlochry Festival Theatre where he acknowledged the occasion by removing his bunnet on stage. Time to reciprocate and raise my hat to one of Scotland's real tradition bearers.


Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.