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GORDON TYRRALL 'Drive Old Puss Away' GAHO Music GAH04

I had always considered Gordon Tyrrall to be from a solidly traditional background, with a solidly traditional approach to playing and singing, but this latest release has shown that he has the ability to move the boundaries - not to take over neighbouring territory, but to learn from them whilst keeping the traditional base absolutely firm.

The innovation here is the use of electric guitar and swirling electronically generated backgrounds to complement the rich and powerful voice. Now, some people automatically react against such notions, but before they do, they should take a listen here to get an understanding that the words "new technology" and "subtlety" can sit together very comfortably indeed, especially after repeated listening, as this just continues to grow on you. There are insightful self-compositions both musical and lyrical from Gordon, including an exceptionally eclectic list of preferred party guests in Know You're Not Alone. Not that these are at the expense of the traditional stuff, however. There's a nine-and-a-half minute version of The Outlandish Knight for example, which not too many would be prepared to tackle.

Throughout all the arrangements, Gordon's voice keeps true to the traditional style, and his playing is likewise immaculate, making this a fine bit of work indeed.

Gordon Potter

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