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LUKE DANIELS - Tribute To William Hannah

LUKE DANIELS - Tribute To William Hannah
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX379

A slight departure from Luke Daniels' previous recordings, this shortish collection recreates the music of a Scottish melodeon player from West Lothian. It is full of classic Scottish dance music, in a slightly more formal style than the average ceilidh band, with a few surprises. Broon's Reel, The Dashing White Sergeant, Bonnie Dundee, The 79th's Farewell, The Muckin' o' Geordie's Byre and other Jimmy Shand favourites vie with music-hall waltzes such as Leezie Lindsay and Peggy O'Neill. Born in 1891, Hannah was an important influence on Shand, and possibly on the development of Scottish country dancing in general: his numerous recordings from the 1920s were intended for dancing and he enjoyed an illustrious career as a top dance band leader.

Luke Daniels is joined here by Neil Ewart on fiddle, Ian Carr on guitar and John Paul Gandy on piano. Together they produce a convincing band sound, with moments of swing and jazz added to the Scottish base, as would probably have been the case in the first half of the 20th century. The tracks on this CD are clearly named for dancing: The Boston Two Step, The Eightsome Reel in condensed form, and various sets of jigs, reels, strathspeys and waltzes. Daniels plays period B/C melodeons, including the model favoured by William Hannah, and an earlier instrument which has a gorgeous brassy quality. The album booklet has a few pages of information about this important figure in the history of Scottish and Irish accordion music, but surprisingly little is known about William Hannah beyond his recordings. This release should help to restore his deserved reputation.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.