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When the modern day Tarland Minstrel Paul Anderson was invited by Deveron Arts to be Huntly's first "Toon Fiddler" (his words) over the winter of 2003, it was inevitable that a collection of fiddle tunes would be one of the end products. His four-month part-time residency spawned some 32 original tunes in the traditional Scots style from his prolific pen, many of which are showcased on his new CD, The Strathbogie Collection.

The Strathbogie Collection consists of eleven tracks of marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs, hornpipes and haunting slow airs all inspired by familiar local landmarks like the castle and local legends like ghost pipers, local characters in the town and less obvious and perhaps more surprising subject matter. For example, Huntly Football Club have been immortalised with a particularly fine reel. Another highlight for me is the beautiful air The Pillaged Malt, which has a spine-tingling etherial quality to it, no doubt inspired by a few drams of the good stuff itself.

Paul's accompanist on this CD is the ubiquitous Andy Thorburn on the piano, who makes his usual efficient job of providing drive in the jigs and reels where required, and enhancing the emotion of the slow airs in a gently sympathetic way. I am a fan of Paul Anderson's fiddle playing for the simple reason that he plays the tunes with passion but at the correct pace. There is none of the image-driven pyrotechnics that unfortunately seems to be the fashion among other young leading lights. Not only is Paul a consumate musician with sympathy for the music, his talent as a tunesmith ranks him alongside all the great Scottish makars from the past, and it's an honour to be asked to offer this review. The Strathbogie Collection will be available to buy in the shops from Saturday 21st August, or you can order them over the phone from Lindy Young at Deveron Arts in Huntly on 01466 794494.

Colin C. I. Douglas

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This album was reviewed in Issue 58 of The Living Tradition magazine.