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Greentrax CDTRAX306 

I seem to remember reviewing a previous McMorland & McIntyre CD in glowing terms, praising the skill, commitment, and beauty of their singing, and their high quality choice of songs.  Listening to White Wings it occurs to me that I could easily short-cut this review by repeating the last one with just the change of a song title or two.

White Wings, like its predecessor, is a demonstration of the good taste and high ability that this couple always show, along with their obvious love of the music.  They are joined vocally by Alison's daughter Kirsty, and the excellent Derek Hoy, on fiddle, viola, and Norman Chalmers, also excellent, on concertina, whistle, jaw harp and mouth organ.  Alison's banjo and Geordie's guitar add to the rock-solid instrumental work.

How about the songs?  A feast my friends, a feast.  The opener White Wings is not the Victorian parlour ballad of the same name, but a G. McIntyre composition, a song of homecoming inspired by a visit to Orkney and conversations with returning exiles.  It is a superb song, showing Geordie McIntyre to have a poet's vision, able to compose without a false note or mawkish phrase.  That it is almost eclipsed by the next item The Rocks O' Gibralter (sic) a Lowlands of Holland variant sung by Alison simply shows what a gripping singer she is.  Just TRY to pull yourself away from the story while she tells it.  You won't succeed.  Alison is totally at home with this type of material, as her towering version of McCrimmon's Lament proves.  Geordie shines in the exquisite Farewell to the Bens and The Shira Dam.

Further highlights include the mother/daughter duets The Virginnia Maid (sic) and a fine version of the gem of all emigration songs Our Ship is Ready.

Before the keys that spell superlatives wear out I will close this entirely rave review. Thank you Alison, Geordie, Kirsty, Norman, Derek, and Greentrax.

Roy Harris.

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This album was reviewed in Issue 74 of The Living Tradition magazine.