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Drinkers Drouth with Davy Steele "A Tribute" Greentrax CDTRAX 223

I approached this review with some trepidation. Drinkers Drouth were at their peak when my involvement with folk music was at an all-time low thanks to the time-consuming business that is procreation and child- rearing. I'd never heard them, although I know and love Davy Steele's music. Would this be something that the notoriously tasteful Davy would rather have forgotten? Was Drinkers Drouth a dodgy 70s/80s "hearty" band - all beer, bluster and bodhrans? Fear not, gentle reader. This is a lost gem. The only embarrassment is Dave Black's "big hair" on the cover ... auditioning to replace Jeff Lynne in ELO, presumably? (Sorry Dave, couldn't resist it). This is "late-period" Drouth, c1981-1986. It's an affectionate, moving and extraordinarily listenable tribute to the late Davy, whose songwriting pops up on "Wha'll Dreg a Buckie?" and "Heave ya Ho", a typically anthemic precursor to "Fareweel tae the Haven". Then of course, there's that voice. I defy anyone to be unmoved by the slightly hoarse, soulful singing that makes so much of a traditional song, as well as one of his own. It's unmistakable and always did render Davy one of the finest interpreters of songs around. Really, the man was depressingly talented. Dunno why we all loved him so much!

What of the rest of "The Drouth". They were, and still are, during rare reunions, a solid, tight band - providing excellent harmonies and occasionally an alternative voice or two. With Davy Steele, they were mighty.

Alan Murray

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