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PAUL ANDERSON - Beauties Of the North 

PAUL ANDERSON - Beauties Of the North 
Fingal Records FINCD507 

"Well, if you don't like slow tunes then this album really isn't going to be your cup of tea..." This is the uncompromising opening to Paul's booklet notes on this album. Rather like his live performances in a way; dressed in kilt and full regalia and seemingly unbending to trends and fashions, Paul performs in a way that suits him and sits well with his view of tradition.

He is a superb technician - many would call him a Scottish violinist rather than a fiddler though that I what he calls himself - his tone is superb and he has clearly thought out his approach to each piece. For example, many previous performances of Scott Skinner's famed Fyvie Castle bring out its dramatic possibilities, whereas Paul seeks the beauty of the piece and lets its unusual structure reveal itself. This is one of three Skinner compositions amongst the 23 tracks and 63 minutes; also included are tunes by Hector MacAndrew, Nathaniel and Niel Gow and William Marshall, amongst others, and there are traditional and song tunes as well as a number composed by Paul himself. Many of the tunes are presented without accompaniment but others have a sparse backing by the guitar of Tony McManus, the Corries-designed Combolin of Dave Stinton and, most successfully, of George Donald playing a Steinway grand piano.

The album seems to have been recorded over a number of years at different locations in Scotland and Shetland; there was no need to rush it out, this is timeless music.

Vic Smith


This review appeared in Issue 130 of The Living Tradition magazine