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ALISTAIR OGILVY - Leaves Sae Green

ALISTAIR OGILVY - Leaves Sae Green
Greentrax Recordings  CDTRAX365

Alistair has an outstanding voice and, for one so young, a deep-rooted understanding of the traditional songs he’s chosen.  He’s not neglected contemporary songs either.  There’s a jaunty wee number, The Kirkwall Light, about the Greylag Geese in the winter light of Orkney that is one of his own compositions. There’s Bob Dylan’s Girl From The North Country and a superbly executed version of Davy Steele’s The Rose Of Summerlee.  But my absolute favourite is his interpretation of Andy M. Stewarts Where Are You Tonight, I Wonder.  I love the song, I love the singing and I love the arrangement. In fact I love all of the arrangements.

Alistair enlisted a few of his pals to play on the album and he chose well.  There’s some splendid guitar playing from Steven Polwart and painfully beautiful harmony singing from Inge Thomson. Then there’s the incredibly talented and versatile Aly Macrae.  His contribution to the arrangements enhances the album beyond description. Varying in style from a sympathetic, sparse, piano accompaniment on the Wars O’ Germanie to an almost orchestral backing for Willie’s Fatal Visit, the variety is astounding but never overshadowing the vocals.

The Bonnie Ship The Diamond also got me going.  The arrangement is seriously wild stuff with lots of left field piano, which somehow seems perfectly natural. I recently heard Alistair sing this with a guitarist playing the piano part. Magnificent.

I could rattle on about this album for several pages but I’m not allowed.  Just go and buy it.

Hugh Taylor

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This album was reviewed in Issue 92 of The Living Tradition magazine.