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ALISON YOUNGER "Blythe and Bonny" Cock Robin Music CRM 2000

What a delight to hear Alison Younger on a CD recording of her own. Alison is probably better known as a member of Bryony, or more recently, First Principles and Mrs Ackroyd Band. Her love of Scottish songs, her delightful singing and empathy with the subject matter makes this a very pleasing record.

Among the more familiar songs are 'Gala Water', 'Fareweel Tae Whiskey' and 'The Land Of The Leal' all lovingly sung; but it is the lesser known songs that are the treasures of this CD. She draws on Farquar Graham's 'Scottish Songs', for cheerful, humorous songs of everyday life. I feel that the playful domestic songs of the Scottish tradition are often overlooked for the dramatic and rebellious, and that is a sad mistake. What can be better than to hear 'I'm Doun For The Lack O' Johnnie', 'The Lawland Lads Think They Are Fine', and 'The Bonnie Wee Trampin' Lass', sung with a twinkle in the eye and a smile in the voice? Alison has included a trilogy of songs by border shepherd Willie Scott and, on two of them, the wonderful Hannah Hutton accompanies her. Alison has been very generous in taking a more subsidiary role on these two tracks by allowing Hannah to take the lead, but who would blame her; we hear so little of this fine singer from the North East. It is probably obvious, by now, that I find this CD thoroughly enjoyable; it is one of those that gets better with each play.

Alison has very able instrumental and vocal support from Jez Lowe, Bev Saunders and Chris Harvey. A real joy of a record.

Nick Caffrey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 40 of The Living Tradition magazine.