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MacAlias - "Highwired" - Greentrax CDTrax 222

Always a major event - a new CD from the Mighty Gaughan. This one will intrigue Dick's fans from the past, as it's a largely acoustic album, with a fabulous version of "The Dowie Dens ..." and a couple of other well- chosen items from Dick's past.

It's pretty sparse, with only Brian McNeill's fiddle and concertina to augment Dick's legendary spiky guitar and intense, passionate snarl! Engineered by Ollie Knight, this is one of the finest-sounding DG albums for a while - that sparse acoustic production really let's Dick guitar skills and powerfully-emotive singing leap out of the speakers.

Highlights? I'm pleased to have Dick's revisits to Si Kahn's wonderful "What you do with what you've got" (a long-established Gaughan clarion call) and Phil Ochs' world-weary, but powerful "When I'm Gone". Both suit DG's intense delivery - which, us usual, moves from suppressed explosiveness to actual explosiveness without warning. There's a beautiful self-penned acoustic guitar tune ("Florence in Florence") that reminds us, as if we'd ever forget, just how good this man is with an unplugged Martin and a plectrum. Add in two of the finest versions of Brian McNeill's "Yew Tree" and "Strong Women ..." that you'll ever hear and this rises to "Handful of Earth" quality. I do not say that lightly, as "Handful .." is one of my desert-island discs. Nice one Dick ... very nice one.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.