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AR LOG - Saith VII 

AR LOG - Saith VII 
Sain SCD2770 

Ar Log, like the Dubliners (their early champions) or the Chieftains, seem to have been about since God was a boy. They’re none the worse for that, and the dozen predominantly traditional tracks here see them continuing their trawl through the various elements that comprise the traditions of Wales. With a roughly 50/50 split between songs and instrumentals, there’s something here for everyone – excellent musicianship, competent singing, and that instinctive playing that comes from all those years together.

The songs were often intriguing; their researches have sometimes led them on lesser trodden paths, such as the Welsh enclave in Patagonia, or to a protest song from the early 1970s. The instrumentals ranged from new, very convincing trad-style compositions to spotlighting the Welsh triple harp, so lots of variety. The accompanying (bilingual) notes gave as much background as anyone could ask for, and even some explanation of the song plots for English monolinguists, and the recording quality’s fine.

There’s very little to criticise here, but I did feel that there wasn’t that much drive in some of the performances, maybe an element of “we’ve done it all before”? Perhaps listening to this after Gwilym Bowen Rhys wasn’t such a good idea! But if you fancy something that’s easily digestible and musically proficient, you’ll enjoy this – I did.

John Waltham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 126 of The Living Tradition magazine.