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RAB NOAKES - Welcome To Anniversaryville

RAB NOAKES - Welcome To Anniversaryville
Neon Records NEONCD021

Anniversaryville in this case being Glasgow’s Fruitmarket, timeline Celtic Connections 2017, when Rab and his merry seven-piece “70/50 in 2017” band performed a magnificent sequence of songs covering all bases, from Rab’s close-on-50-years of songwriting to stylish reinterpretations of anything from Scots traditional to country standards. Even though Rab hadn’t worked with some of the band before, the live concert worked so well and was such a hoot that a recording studio was booked for the following weekend and the backbone of this record was laid down, later bringing in four extra musicians to help complete the recordings.

The resulting album is both a perfect introduction to Rab’s artistry and a brilliant encapsulation of his versatility; it also comes across as a bunch of simpatico good mates having a good time playing material with which they’re in tune and fully au fait – and the feelgood vibe gets through to the listener right away (that doesn’t signify any lack of depth however). Moreover, Rab’s a master of the emotional gamut of popular song in its wider, all-embracing sense, and this runs through his own songwriting too, all the while retaining his unmistakable musical signature. And Rab’s consummate professionalism extends to all aspects of this new album’s presentation, including the lavish booklet with its fabulously informative and personally insightful song and background notes and stacks of happy photos showing the man and his musical companions in the finest of fettle. Rab’s proud post-Treatment resurgence is to be widely celebrated, that’s for sure.

David Kidman

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This album was reviewed in Issue 125 of The Living Tradition magazine.