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Private Label BL001 

The prospect of a ten-strong line-up defying the nightmarish logistics by recording and touring together with a brass section as their heavy infantry will summon up inevitable comparisons with others. For sheer numbers, Brass Lassie is not far behind Bellowhead, and that will be enough to attract interest, although they are a very different proposition. La Bottine Souriante invites the obvious comparisons as well, but the feel of this album is quite distinct. For one thing, its emphasis is firmly on Scots music with side trips to outposts such as Cape Breton and Brittany, where the tradition is still strong.

The band might be based in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St Paul but the band draws influences from far and wide. The style actually has echoes of the more formal end of the Irish repertoire, whilst their stage persona, as well as their precise musicianship, recalls groups like Cherish The Ladies.

There is no doubt about the vocal highlight of the album - that elegant song, Fause, Fause Hae Ye Been. Don't expect June Tabor's sublime version; its roots are clearly in the arrangement that The Easy Club popularised, especially in some of the jazzy flavourings they put into the mix. There are times when the overall sound is a little too polite, but it takes all types to keep the Celtic juggernaut rolling and Brass Lassie contributes more than its share at their end of the spectrum.

Dave Hadfield 

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This album was reviewed in Issue 128 of The Living Tradition magazine.