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MCCALMANS - Lost Tracks

MCCALMANS - Lost Tracks
Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX393

Many of us were sure that there must be a fair archive of unreleased tracks by the McCalmans, but even so it’s still a nice surprise when a collection such as this comes along - a total of 19 tracks from the various line-ups, from a variety of sources. Some are of studio quality, others of lowly source but lovingly resurrected by Ian McCalman.

Of the former group, by far the nicest surprise is the opening track, Nick Keir’s magical Cold Night In This Old Town, which is a corker. Barbara Dickson shares the spotlight in a song recorded in Sandy Bells in the late 60s – Plooman Laddies – and is evocative of the times. Three tracks are from the farewell concert DVD, including the hilarious Bonnyrig Banker, and the final song, So The Years Roll On, which was intended to be the swansong, and indeed was the perfect way to bow out.

I was convinced that I already had Macs’ recordings of some of these songs, but I must have recalled them from seeing them in live performance. Amazingly, there are already over 400 recorded songs, over their 46 year career as professional musicians. But the tracks here are all complementary to what has gone before. I presume that it’s only with the advent of the latest sophisticated equipment that usable (and indeed marketable) tracks can be produced from second and third generation cassettes and the like. This album is dedicated to the absent members who have passed – Derek Moffat and Nick Keir. They would have been bursting with pride.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 117 of The Living Tradition magazine.