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RURA - Live At The Old Fruitmarket 

RURA - Live At The Old Fruitmarket 
Private Label RURACD003 

A live concert - remember those? I'm sure Rura would have given an even livelier performance if they'd realised this would be among their last live performances for many months! Even without the benefit of that knowledge, this grand old venue in Glasgow's Merchant City was packed and pulsing to the music of one of the most exciting folk foursomes on the Scottish scene. Steven Blake on pipes, David Foley on flute, Jack Smedley's fiddle, and Adam Brown backing it all up on guitar: Rura play mainly their own music here, pretty much all from previous albums but given more than a twist on stage. Long-time singer with the band, Adam Holmes guests for two songs: Mary and Weary Days, both as maudlin as you'd expect if you know Adam's music, getting a warm reception and a surprisingly upbeat treatment here.

On nine instrumental tracks, Rura shows why they have filled halls and festivals around the world - and will again, I'm sure! After a warm-up on their own gently rippling tune Catriona's, the lads launch into Fraser Fifield's fantastic Dark Reel with assistance from electric guitarist Chris Waite. A couple of anthemic airs bracket the driving reel Day One, and the first song is followed by the aptly-named march, The Glorious 45, featuring Ali Hutton on whistle and pipes. Things get seriously tasty with a switch to reel time, flute and fiddle coming in behind the pipes, and a touch of James Lindsay's bass. The calming Elliot's introduces three less lively tracks, but the finale on Horizons is back up to peak party mood, a thumping beat, hands in the air, full-power pipes and fiddle, a memorable finish to a concert which deserves to be repeated before too long.

Alex Monaghan


This review appeared in Issue 136 of The Living Tradition magazine