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RORY McLEOD Swings and Roundabouts

Swings and Roundabouts
Talkative Music TALK004

If you have heard a Rory McLeod CD before, you will know what to expect. The unexpected. On this, his ninth album, he delivers his usual waltzer ride of rhymes and rhythms, performing lexical somersaults in an energetic mix of styles and instruments. All songs are written this time by Rory except one, Your Mummy and I, which is based on Your Mother and I by Loudon Wainright III, who I am sure will be pleased with the resultant heart-string tugger.

There is the usual value for money here, with 18 tracks and more than 75 minutes of music, and no padding in sight. The album's full, as track 13, Play, has it, of 'songs that are death defying, that fail but keep on trying' - though I disagree with the word 'fail'. Don't you just hate artists who show humility? The one instrumental on the CD, Lassoing the Bees is a tour-de-force dance tune, with Rory on "harmonica, bass harmonica, grunts, breaths, tap shoes, percussion, djembe and castanets". His harmonica playing is as stunning as ever.
The tone is upbeat throughout, even when dealing with unmarried mothers, infidelity or love lost. There are probably about 18 stand out tracks, but I shall mention just one. I'm Not Ready to Die is Rory's take on Do Not Go Gentle Unto That Good Night by Dylan Thomas and is dedicated to Alistair Hulett, who is probably chuckling and dancing in his grave. I've just realised I've saved this file as rory swings.txt. Damn straight.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 85 of The Living Tradition magazine.