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OLD BLIND DOGS - Room With A View

OLD BLIND DOGS - Room With A View
Private Label OBD013

Watch out! The mighty mutts are back on the road, with their first album in six years. Some 25 years after fiddler Jonny Hardie set up Old Blind Dogs with Ian Benzie and Buzzby McMillan, he is joined by Aaron Jones (bouzouki, cittern, guitar), Ali Hutton (pipes, whistles) and new boy Donald Hay (percussion). They are in good fettle, delivering a mix of songs and powerful tunes with a fizz which makes you look up where to catch them live.

The opening Bunker Hill set is a triumphant nod to their times touring in America. Later, there is a less successful set of Breton gavottes. The other tunes are traditional or contemporary from Scotland and Ireland. The Newe set includes Joel Turk’s by Jonny’s old partner Gavin Marwick. Ali is an exciting piper, much in demand, and the band’s tight rhythms allow him to soar on sets such as Nevertheless and the closing Dead And Gone.

Aaron, who lives near Moffat, sings two songs from the late local poet, Lionel McClelland. Earl O’ March’s Daughter, in Border ballad style, shows why you shouldn’t ride past your true love without recognising her, even if she is looking a bit peaky. Sawney Bean is about the lovable Ayrshire clan of cannibals. Jonny sings Brian Cromarty’s A Ring On Her Hand about the Maid of Norway on her ill-fated voyage. The arrangements of the songs are quite busy, and I’d have liked more space left for the words.

The album cover shows the room with a view. Glasses of whisky are ready to drink on a table in front of a stone hearth and chimney which are all that remain of a moorland bothy. Slàinte! Here’s to plenty more years.

Tony Hendry

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This album was reviewed in Issue 119 of The Living Tradition magazine.