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CHRIS STOUT "First o' the Darkenin'" Greentrax CDTRAX257

Well-known from Fiddlers Bid, Chris is acquiring a reputation as a fine solo fiddler with his own band and as a versatile and skilled session player with Salsa Celtica and others. He's a man of catholic musical tastes and a wide range of musical collaborators, some of whom guest on this CD.

Most of the sets on this CD are not of well-known tunes . or at least they're tunes that I don't know. Some are Chris's own, some are written by the likes of Gerry O'Connor, Ivan Drever and Fraser Fifield and some are from far afield - like the totally mesmerising Norwegian hymn tune, Jeg Ser Deg Sote Lam. There's a good blend of bouncy, emotive and rousing, Chris writes a good melody and isn't afraid to mix in some non-trad. ideas. The only track that doesn't work for me is the semi-improvised title track. However, my son Paul, who IS a fiddler, LOVES it - so perhaps it's a "fiddlers' tune" as opposed to one for general consumption? Or perhaps I'm just a phiddling Philistine of a guitar-player? No matter - Chris Stout is up in the Fraser/MacDonald/McCusker league, this is a fabulous CD and number one son is busy learning some of the tunes from it .which is always a good sign.

Alan Murray

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This album was reviewed in Issue 57 of The Living Tradition magazine.