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Private Label CRSFF0414

This is the fourth outing on CD for this Orcadian duo comprising Douglas Montgomery on fiddle/viola and Brian Cromarty (vocals/guitar/mandola), who are celebrating 10 years on from their debut (Goose Music).

Although taken from two live performances on the same day at The Glassel Hall in Aberdeenshire, the bulk of the 14 tracks here are of studio quality – indeed, the audience has been mixed out of most of them, but are more than appreciative when they are heard. Eight of the tracks can also be found on their first three, studio, albums, but they can’t possibly have the excitement and drive of these versions. These boys have an innate understanding of each other’s playing and are perfectly matched. The Burray medley features a cohort of other musos which gives the tunes strength in depth. Oh Dear Oh is supposedly a traditional song (and is captivating) but I can’t find reference to it anywhere else – but it’s a cracker anyway. There’s a tasteful reading of Lady Franklin’s Lament and they revisit Jim Craigie’s Netherbow, which was the title song from their third album, with panache. Three of the songs and two tunes are Cromarty originals, all of which are competent and well bedded in – and Montgomery contributes six great tunes.

Montgomery is a more than able foil for Cromarty’s lead and it’s less than surprising that they are in demand for festivals at home and abroad. This was patently a whiz of a night, on St Andrew’s night 2013, and I wish I could have been there.

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 103 of The Living Tradition magazine.