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Orcadian Recordings ORCCD010

As the title suggests, this latest offering from Ivan Drever was recorded at the Orkney Folk Festival, where he was commissioned to get a group of local musicians together for a one-off concert. It features fellow Orcadians, but what the title doesn’t hint at is that all the compositions here are by Ivan himself. I have to say that I tend to shy away from these live recordings “with friends” and as the opening track starts I was beginning to wish I had. It all seemed mildly mish-mash. But as the dobro of Stewart Shearer kicked in on Rose Of St Magnus, things began to get better, and by The Fisherman, featuring some lovely accordion by Billy Pearce, I was well and truly hooked!

Throughout the CD there’s some great playing showing that these are not just friends but good musicians. I loved guest Colin J. Nicholson’s accordion on Leaving Stoer, whilst Jennifer Wrigley plays a wonderful fiddle on A Peedie Heart. Ivan seems content to take a back seat with minimal introductions, delivering the songs with a voice as strong as I remember it, having fun on Roll Over Stonehaven and with obvious pride for his Dark Haired Ruby - an emotion shared by many grandparents. I only have one minor criticism and that concerns the applause featured at the end of some tracks. I am sure it is natural, but the timing of it makes it seem not so, but it doesn’t spoil this very good CD recorded by the highly competent Kris Koren.

I’ve never been to Orkney but if this is the quality of musicians there then it must be a place to go. I am glad I stuck with Live In Orkney as it is a really good listen and proves a fine showcase for Ivan’s songs, and not just for those who were there on the night.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 120 of The Living Tradition magazine.