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White Meadow Records WMR0031

A new CD by the great Alistair Anderson is always an exciting event and rightly so, especially if he is accompanied by a fine band of Northern talent. On this self titled album he is accompanied by Sophie Ball, Sarah Hayes and Ian Stephenson, all of whom are experts in their own right.

The opening track, Taking On Men, is a version of the Jez Lowe song which featured in the modern Ballads series and came as a surprise to me, thinking that this was going to be an album of tunes. There are plenty of tunes to enjoy, with Alistair showing why he has had such a long and successful career playing the music of that area. Sarah shows off her vocal talent on a great version of The Snow That Melts The Soonest, whilst Mike Tickell’s Last Shift is simply haunting.

Ian Stephenson has done a great job recording and mastering this album, whilst any booklet featuring photographs of the Northumberland coast, is always going to be a winner. But it is the wonderful playing of Alistair Anderson that makes this a very good listen. I love those little touches he adds; many of which seem to be so natural that they almost go unnoticed. Alistair Anderson & Northlands are not a soloist and a backing band. They are a complete unit with one identity. A CD with a lovely “warm” feeling.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.