Lough Records 009CD

These gentlemen are the perennial tourers of the transatlantic folk scene (sixty tours in thirty-eight years – nobody else comes close) and have become like familiar old slippers (or slip jigs) to most of us. This album is named as such as it is their twentieth album, apparently, (If that’s the case, I’m sure I must have some ‘doubles’ somewhere – remind me to check later).

Their music, like their line-ups, does not so much evolve as flow from one incarnation/genre to the next seamlessly. The contributions are self-contained, as usual (no guests invited, or indeed required). Cathal’s flutes and whistles are as true as ever, and his voice conveys more emotion than is respectable at times. I could have lived without hearing yet another Australian Ned Kelly ballad among the Celto-Northumbriana, but I’m sure it goes down a storm in Adelaide . Some of the content is recycled from an earlier incarnation, but still sounds fresh. ‘Proudlock’s Hornpipe’ is performed as if the world has been waiting for the definitive version (and they’ve finally been persuaded to have a stab – it works to perfection).

Loughies (‘luvvies’) will not need to be coerced into parting with their groats for this – and I heartily recommend it to anyone with a traditional bent eclectic enough to enjoy theoretically incongruous bedfellows (Irish/Northumbrian/Shetland/Scottish Highland) played with clinical precision.

Grem Devlin

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The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 65 of The Living Tradition magazine.