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MAGPIE LANE - The 25th 

MAGPIE LANE - The 25th 
Private Label MLCD10 

A Christmas record to celebrate 25 years! (See what they did there?) It’s strange reviewing a Christmas CD during the summer, but at least without the seasonal trappings, it allows better objectivity.  There are few ‘popular’ Christmas items here (however I Saw Three Ships, Gabriel’s Message and Down In Yon Forest make welcome appearances), but all the material is relevant.

We start with a rousing burst of West Gallery material and immediately the qualities of the group come to the fore, with strong rhythms and crisp execution.  Often West Gallery performances may drag a little, but here they know to take them at a brisk clip - it is a celebration after all! Indeed, it isn’t until track eight that we slow the tempo and mood down, with some more thoughtful material such as the beautiful In Winter Time and the Peter, Paul & Mary-esque I Am Christmas Time. Interspersed by Matt Green’s superlative fiddle tunes, and with no weak links among the excellent singers, this is a CD which will give great pleasure at Christmas - and other times as well!

Paul Burgess


This review appeared in Issue 131 of The Living Tradition magazine