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Pipedown "The First Measure" Greentrax CDTRAX 220

I first heard this CD during a working session at the Living Tradition office, however, not much packing, labelling, bagging, stamping or magazine shifting was getting done. No, there was too much of, "whit track's this ?", "who's that playin' pipes ?", "whar's that wee book frae the CD ?", "nice that, played slow", "aye, drumsisnobad ". A re-play proved just as popular with the troops.

The Pipedown line-up is, Lee Moore from Co. Tyrone on pipes; Axel Campbell from Harris on mandolins; Steve Reid from Dunfermline on guitar and Steve Fivey from Denny on percussion. This four piece have formed a sound and style that harks back to a collective folk memory of black houses, peat smoke and low flames. There is a dark, brooding, almost tribal nature to the settings of these airs. There is discipline, good structure and plenty of fine entertainment as well.

The main sounds are that of pipes, the big pipes and the small pipes and of drums, mostly hand drums, again of the big and small variety. The "string section" of Campbell and Reid, are well to the fore and kept busy pushing the rhythm and chord progressions. The programme is from piping collections, old and new, traditional and modern. "Dr. MacInnes Fancy", "The Ivy Leaf", "The Ass in the Graveyard", "Rebel Without Applause", "The Boys of Balivanich", "In With the Bricks", " Good Drying" and "The Birnam Triangle", can all be found among the complement of thirty-five tunes.

Apparently there are some that claim not to like the sound of pipe music. Maybes they listened to the wrong CDs ? Maybes they should listen to this one?

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 47 of The Living Tradition magazine.