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IAN MCCALMAN Mccalman 'Singluar' - Songs by Ian, Sung by Friends CDTRAX 269

What a great idea of Ian Green's to suggest to Ian McCalman that he get his pals together and plunder his 'songbook'. As Ian says he did wonder as to their sanity as to how many illustrious careers would come to a shuddering halt. Neither he nor they should have worried.

I hadn't realised just how large Ian's 'songbook' and how wide ranging it is running through the reflective 'Greenland' - Barbara Dixon, self analysis 'Wha's Like Us' - Jim Malcolm, poking fun at folkies 'Sidmouth Folk Festival Blues' - Mike Whellans, social conscience 'War Outside' - Dick Gaughan, and the downright humorous 'The 8-3-0' - Sheena Wellington. There are also excellent contributions from The Sangsters, Ally Bain and Phil Cunningham, Alan Taylor, Janet McCalman (Ian's niece), the original Macs, Isla St Clair, Davy Steele (with Drinkers Drouth) and of course Ian himself.

For me it was also a trip down memory lane as we had entertained Barbara Dixon, Mike Whellans and Ally Bain, Derek Moffat (much missed), Hamish Bain and Ian himself - the original Macs to the Abbey Folk Club, Arbroath in the late sixties. Barbara is no longer on the club circuit, Mike and Ally have gone their separate ways and the Macs have evolved. Sheena Wellington is a friend from just down the road and Jim Malcolm an old friend from just along the road. Davy Steele (also much missed) joined us on odd occasions at our weekly session in Friockheim. Alan Taylor, Dick Gaughan and the Sangsters have all been guests at the Montrose folk club whilst Janet McCalman and Isla St Clair complete the line up of Ian's friends.

They highlight of the CD for me has to be 'Sidmouth Folk Festival Blues' but maybe it has something to do with my age! I would have liked the Macs to have song 'The 8-3-0' - a very amusing song about the A830 Fort William to Mallaig road and given Sheena Wellington perhaps a more reflective song to sing. This is a minor gripe in what is an excellent CD.

Whether this CD was suggested as a serious compilation or just a bit of fun I don't know, but listen to these excerpts from Ian's 'songbook' and enjoy, as you won't be disappointed.

Andrew Webster

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This album was reviewed in Issue 60 of The Living Tradition magazine.