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IAN BRUCE - "The Naked Truth" LUMSCD0102

I am not a keen fan of singer/songwriters as a rule - there are exceptions. Andy Irvine, Stan Rogers, Brian McNeill and of course Ewan MacColl spring to mind - but I really enjoyed this CD by Ian Bruce. My enjoyment may have been helped as I'm writing this on the banks of the Loire with a glass of wine to hand. The CD arrived the day I left for France so I packed the CD player and brought the CD along. I'm glad I did.

What a great idea of Ian McCalman's to take out all the clutter that over dubs and production can bring and to record Ian virtually "live" singing and accompanied only by his guitar. Ian has a fine voice and his guitar reflects the mood of each of his songs. Unlike many singer/songwriters who are inclined to be self-indulgent all Ian's songs are saying, "I know someone who's experienced that" or "hey, I've been there too" and had me listening to each and every line.

From an excellent CD the following for me were some of the highlights: Haven't you been away from a loved one? - "Too Far From She"; had visions of being a bachelor all your days - "Free Agent"; being poor but happy - "The Touch and The Go"; know someone who is anxious and depressed - "Black Fog"; being laid off from work but finding a happy life - "Blue Denim Days". These are just a few of the topics, which Ian covers with great insight.

The one exception to this excellent record was Julie Gold's song "From A Distance" which is probably best known from the singing of Nanci Griffith. It is the only unaccompanied track and I found it somewhat disjointed but this one blemish in twenty excellent tracks and is trifling. Yes there are twenty tracks with seventy-five minutes playing time.

Some of the tracks you may have heard before on Ian's previous CDs but this "live" collection of Ian's songs with only his guitar accompaniment and no "safety net" is not only superb value but also more importantly an excellent CD.

Go out and enjoy it.

Andrew Webster

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This album was reviewed in Issue 53 of The Living Tradition magazine.