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There are some combinations of instrumentation that, at some time in history, may have been thought unusual, leading to a "that'll not work" mentality. At first glance, you might be forgiven for thinking that an album featuring a piper and a bouzouki player would result in the former dominating the latter. Here's the proof that this combination can be truly inspiring.

Fred's selection of blown instruments here includes pipes of the Highland, Uillean and Borders variety, as well as low whistle, with Jamie's bouzouki as accompaniment on most tracks. As an exercise in how to blend tonality and use instrumentation to complement the tune, this could scarcely be bettered. The nuances of timbre between the different pipes and the interaction of the two musicians give this whole CD a real sparkle and drive throughout.

Some two-thirds of the material are Fred's own compositions, and most of the remainder his arrangements of traditional numbers. Within the selection we have a complete range of tempo, from slow airs through to rollocking jigs and reels, and a stunning finale in the classic 'Earl of Seaforth's Salute'. The playing styles are also nicely varied throughout, to please both traditionalists and progressives, but with Fred's trademark quality evident in every note. Jamie's accompaniments are thoughtfully and skilfully applied to give a well-balanced feel to the whole recording. Tony McManus also features on three of the tracks, just to add to the joy that this performance brings to the ears.

This really is a truly splendid album.

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.