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GEORGE DUFF - The Collier Laddie 

GEORGE DUFF - The Collier Laddie 
Beag Records BEAGCD005 

Scottish singer George Duff from Midlothian has been singing since he worked in the coal industry in the 1980s. This is his first solo CD and it admirably reflects his prowess as a singer with a clear and engaging voice, as well as someone whose passion is represented in his choice of songs.

The opening title track sets the tone for the album, which combines songs of struggle with contemporary and traditional ballads from Scotland and Ireland. George delivers lovely versions of The Banks Of The Bann and The Rigs O’ Rye and a stirring rendition of Geordie McIntyre’s Remember Connolly. A fine version of Green Grow The Rashes, one of the earliest Burns songs, brings out the soulful nature of the singer at one with his material. The instrumentation and arrangements add colour to the songs and the singing without getting too elaborate as is often the case with folk and traditional albums these days.

George’s powerful vocals and tasteful guitar playing remain firmly centre stage on each song. Guest musicians include Mike Katz (whistles and pipes), John Martin (fiddles), Mark Dunlop (bodhrán and percussion) and Jim Wilson (accordion). Kevin Macleod and Rob Hiley also contribute and helped George with the production of the album.

Mining and miners feature strongly in George’s repertoire of ballads, represented on the album by his powerful delivery on The Blackleg Miner,The Prince Of Darkness, The Eight Hour Day and The Recruited Collier. The album covers 16 strong tracks, each one an authentic performance by a fine singer and guitarist rooted in the tradition.

Gerry Jones

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.