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RODDY MATTHEWS & FRIENDS - The High Road Oer The Border

RODDY MATTHEWS & FRIENDS - The High Road Oer The Border
Bingfield Music BM0015

Roddy Matthews is a fiddler from Northumberland who is equally at home of both sides of the border, crossing regularly “o’er the high road” to play. Here, he teams up with Gary Forrest, Keith Lauder and Ally Lee to create an album of tunes which also straddle the border, the majority of which have been written by Roddy himself. Most are dance tunes, and would be well at home in a ceilidh setting, and others are more for listening than dancing.

The tunes are full of life and swing, and the ensemble playing is mostly very tight; the snappy Farquhar And Flora MacPherson Of Portree even had me dancing around the room. The addition of electric guitar to the more usual dance band line-up of accordion, fiddle, piano, drums and bass, gives a nice added dimension in places. Roddy also accompanies himself on viola, the droney backing creating another pleasing variation in sound. His slow air, Miss Jean Nichol Of Lauder is akin to something Willie Hunter might have written – perhaps showing the influence of his many trips to Shetland. One song, also written by Roddy, is included, though works less well for me.

Roddy already has six albums to his name (including one where he shares the credit with Gary), but this album has been recorded to raise funds for Maggie’s Cancer Care Charity, and it is a credit to him. There are some great tunes here, all traditional in style, and I defy you to tell the old and new ones apart.

Fiona Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.