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TOM MCCONVILLE - Sailing To The Far Side Of The World

TOM MCCONVILLE - Sailing To The Far Side Of The World
BoomChang Records BCCD012

This CD is a perfectly balanced summary of the enduring talent that is Tom McConville – a fiddler that the late, great Dave Swarbrick described as a great player, and a great singer of the songs of his native North East. Accompanied by his old mate Chris Newman in strategic places, these are 12 tracks of listening pleasure. The Whitby Fisher Lad also features his band and demonstrates the full sound of the touring outfit (David and Shona Newey, guitar and accordion respectively, and Phil Murray on bass), and is a cracking song delivered with aplomb. Material is mostly from the North East, although there’s a superb Orkney tune (Flett Fae Flotta), Si Kahn’s Aragon Mill, the title track (Steve Tilston) and Boo Baby’s Lullaby by Jerry Holland.

His multi-tracked fiddles on Sailor’s Bonnet and Boo Baby’s Lullaby demonstrate a subtlety of delivery that is a highlight for me, and Bill Monroe’s Gold Rush is also up there, but all in all it is a good all round album – it’s good to hear that he’s still producing some of the best sounds around. Credit is also due to Andy Watt who is a rock solid accompanist on the tunes, on guitar and mandolin. All in all this is an uplifting album – the only things missing are Tom’s cracking introductions and smiling face which are trademarks of his live act. Nonetheless, a well packaged reminder of the continued force of nature that is Tom McConville.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.