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BATTLEFIELD BAND 'Out For The Night' Temple RecordsCOMD2094

Battlefield is in very fine form on this album. The current line-up has gelled nicely, and the mix of tunes and songs here is delivered with skill and spirit. The new material is a nicely balanced dozen tracks: high-energy tunes, songs old and new, and slow airs. There are also three bonus live tracks, taken from Battlefield's 2002 UK tour, bringing the total running time up to 70 minutes.

Out for the Night opens with compositions from Battlefield's fiddler and piper. Alasdair White's tune Ms Dynamite of Benbecula is dedicated to a certain pop diva, and Mike Katz's reel The Alewife T is named after the Boston underground line that has carried him home after many a late night soaking up the local culture, so we already know what a night out means for these guys. The leisurely, hypnotic rhythms of these two tunes are shifted smoothly up for a couple of traditional pipe reels to finish the set. Track two is a very old song of infertility, infidelity, litigation and divorce in the 17th century, given the familiar Battlefield upbeat treatment. This is followed by John Sheahan's divine slow air Christ Church, named for Dublin's protestant cathedral, followed by an unknown Irish reel and another of fiddler Alasdair White's tunes.

And so it goes on. Great tunes like Seudan A'Chuain by Allan MacDonald, The Road to Benderloch by Angus McColl, and traditional favourites An Cota Ruadh and McKenna's Jig. Three more old-style songs including The King's Shilling and Lord Randall, and one very contemporary song by Henry McCullough full of bluesy melancholy. And of course those surreal tune titles from Mike Katz: Barbhas agus Butthead, Trouble at Baghdad Roundabout, Clan Coco and Fifteen Stubbies to Warragul, fine melodies all, and worth learning for the stories behind the tunes.

Well, there you have it. Good music, good fun, good value and widely available. If you plan on buying a Battlefield album this millennium, I'd recommend Out for the Night.

Alex Monaghan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 56 of The Living Tradition magazine.