Link to Living Tradition Homepage





TOM ORR BAND - Off The Beaten Track

TOM ORR BAND - Off The Beaten Track
Private Label CPR002

Acid Folk meets Accordion & Fiddle Club? Not quite. This recording is not so much off the beaten track as straddling two lanes of the Scottish musical highway. Piano accordion prodigy Tom is backed by the classic Scottish dance band line-up of fiddle, second accordion, piano, bass and drums - but the music they deliver goes far beyond the White Heather Club repertoire. For openers there's Gordon Duncan's Thunderstruck, Gerry O'Connor's Punch In The Dark and Ross Ainslie's Taybank Shennanigans, all favourites of the modern Scottish session scene. Later tracks include compositions by Irish American fiddler Liz Carroll, Iain MacLeod of Shooglenifty and his bandmate Angus R Grant, and even diminutive dynamo Sharon Shannon. So we're beyond Shand, beyond Skipinnish, almost into Brechin territory.

To be fair, there is a piece here by Jimmy Shand, as well as tunes from Jim Johnstone, Bobby MacLeod, Robert Black and, of course, Phil Cunningham. There are some surprisingly well worn melodies too: Jenny Dang The Weaver, Blair Drummond and even The Irish Washerwoman are slipped into an otherwise very contemporary programme. There's a gorgeous slow version of Lochanside and a very peculiar bonus track starting with Kate Dalrymple.

I first encountered Tom Orr playing on Marie Fielding's latest CD An Trá, and this album confirms his brilliance: it also sees Marie shining on fiddle and contributing several tasty tunes of her own. I don't recognise the other musicians here - or the drummer for that matter - but they play a storming set from start to finish. Gaelic waltzes, 2/4 marches, reels and jigs galore - whatever your taste in Scottish accordion music, this recording will probably hit the spot. I'd give it 56 out of 59.

Alex Monaghan

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 108 of The Living Tradition magazine.