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ALISTAIR BROWN - When Fishes Fly 

ALISTAIR BROWN - When Fishes Fly 
Prospect Records PC005 

Alistair Brown is known to many in Canada as a singer, radio broadcaster, dance teacher and member of the Friends Of Fiddler's Green. He has moved to Cornwall (England) and continues to sing, record new material, call dances and play at seasonal rituals that require accordions.

This time out, along with Peter Wray and George Chippendale, Alistair offers 15 ballads, comic ditties, songs of struggle against temptation (usually unsuccessful), odes to conviviality and vignettes of unashamed sentimentality. The vocals and harmonies are out front, but there is generous support from concertina, cittern, fiddle and guitar. The style ranges from wistful to gleeful to occasionally salubrious. The material is a mix of traditional (The Lass Of Patie’s Mill) as well as contemporary (The Ballad Of Lidl And Aldi). The singing is clear, with great diction, and you’ll soon find yourself humming along on the choruses, without prompting.

Alistair collected the material from other singers, songwriters and song books, which illustrates a life always on the prowl for a cracking set of lyrics along with an earwormlike melody. Where else will you hear stories of unfortunate haircuts, the domestic dangers of the chain discount store and the glorious glens of Scotland (relating to brands of whisky, not geographic features). Those who like classic folk singing will enjoy this – and no doubt there are many who will find that this CD also provides them with some new party pieces!

Ivan Emke


This review appeared in Issue 132 of The Living Tradition magazine