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The CD begins with a performance of 'Green Grows The Laurel' in which Christy races through the verses with barely a pause for breath. When I first heard this I thought I was going to be disappointed with the album - it seemed to lack soul. But then in 'Farewell To Whiskey' he multitracks pipes and whistles, Bert Deivert providing a solid, no-nonsense backing, as he does throughout the album. Then the master-stroke. On the set 'Bembring/Up Downey', Christy just multitracks whistles, the sum of which is very much more than their parts. You never get the sense that this is just done for effect. Melody and rhythm are always master, the player just a man in total control of his instruments. But now you get harmony and counterpoint as well - and on such great tunes. It just keeps getting better from here on. Whether singing, as on 'Green Fields of Gweedore' and 'Bonny Light Horseman', or playing sets of tunes, Christy and Bert deliver assured performances on a well-balanced variety of songs and instrumentals. The other accompanists on the CD - Paul Kelly, Eva Deivert and Martin O'Hare - also provide solid support.

'The Slave's Lament' is beautifully sung to the haunting soprano sax of Jonny Wartel in a jazz arrangement, which I understand has had purists spluttering into their poteen. It is their loss. With the title track of the album, Bert Deivert has managed to write one of those lyrics that sounds just like traditional song. And just to keep the old guard happy, 'The Dear Irish Boy' is an unadorned slow air, but no less beautiful for that.

Bert provides the perfect accompaniment, whether Chris is singing, piping or whistling, and they have put together a thoughtful programme of music. A word though for Gunnar Backman who co-produced and recorded the album and who provides such delicacies as "fretless virtual guitar" and "loops". Delicacies is the right word because his distinctly contemporary contributions always fit seamlessly into what is after all supposed to be traditional fare. Long may they continue playing and recording together.

Graham Gurrin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 54 of The Living Tradition magazine.