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"Where The Sky Meets The Sea"
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 232

This, of course, was the album the Macs didn't want to make, but the untimely death of Derek Moffatt necessitated either a change in direction or an end to it all. Thankfully, the band goes on. Added to the existing line up of Ian McCalman and Nick Keir is singer and guitarist Stephen Quigg who has played support for the Macs on sixteen of their by now legendary annual tours of the Highlands in which they see almost as much of Scotland in a few weeks as a coachload of Japanese or American visitors. And not only does Stephen's arrival drastically reduce the average age of the band; it also means that Nick is no longer "the new McCalman", a title he has carried since joining in 1982! As the title might suggest, this album is very much a reflection of the Highland Tour. Of the songs written by members of the group, Ian's "Highlands Tomorrow" is an affectionate travelogue, while Nick's "Applecross Bay" and "Running Home" evoke the spirit of sea-bound communities. The rousing crowd-pleasers are taken care of with "Rise Rise" and "Gallant Murray" filling the bill admirably and Stephen is given his share of the spotlight, too, and is in fine voice in praise of the Isle of Mull on "Voice of My Island". It's a fine album, but like all their studio-based recordings it lacks the essential ingredient of the Macs at their very best - seeing them in a live situation. Long may they continue to spread their gospel of fun and musical entertainment to the people of the Highlands and elsewhere. An institution they may be, but never a PLC.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 50 of The Living Tradition magazine.