Link to Living Tradition Homepage






Private Label PVRB001 

This is the Age of the Techno wizards, where, when an album turns up on one’s desk for review, one almost never blinks an eye when one discovers all sorts of recording studio gizmos and sound effects have been commandeered to enhance the finished product. So by contrast, how refreshing to have a Scots artiste come along naked (so to speak!) into the spotlight. Just herself and her clarsach and flute. The only concession to modern technology is her occasional doubletracking of her flute and her vocal harmonies.

And then when one looks into the origins of the album, one discovers that it was a project she took on during lockdown. So how appropriate therefore that she performs alone. It just would not do to have a non socially-distanced collective at the microphone!

And the ten songs, whilst not having a common theme, do exude a sense of the solitary and of loss: so appropriate in the year of COVID-19. And her title track - so sweetly sung and played by Pauline – is the best example of her genuine attempt to give comfort to the listener, in these trying times.

The songs do have one common thread though: all ten songs see Pauline setting to music the lyrics of her friend Rakesh Bhanot. And decent lyrics they are: track 2, A Few Old Songs (again about loss) sees some particularly clever use of well known song titles... and Pauline scores with the nicest melody of the ten. Two hours later I’m still humming it.

At a RRP of £7.99, it will hardly break your bank. But it may well be a refreshing break from some of the over-produced tat from Tin Pan Alley. And if I lived near Beith in Ayrshire, I’d be delighted to attend one of Pauline’s performances.

Dai Woosnam


This review appeared in Issue 140 of The Living Tradition magazine