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THE OLD SWAN BAND - Swan For The Money

THE OLD SWAN BAND - Swan For The Money
WildGoose WGS378CD

It's very difficult to type while you are dancing around the room, even if you bear more resemblance to a carthorse than a ballerina. So do-see-do the keyboard, type three words, circle round the settee and back again to words.....

After all this time the Old Swans are back.  Still the EFDSS bands on speed.  Still stately and arranged, while at the same time being wild and uncontrolled.  There are a few line-up changes, but most are still there: the Fraser sisters, Martin Brinsford, Paul Burgess et al, on fiddles brass, piano and percussion.

There's a wide variety of material, but it all comes out as an infectious romp in their hands.  There's well-known stuff like The Dashing White Sergeant, Brighton Camp and The Grand Chain, a couple of tunes by Walter Bulwer, who doesn't seem to have bothered about remembering titles; some tunes collected by Cecil Sharp; one from Stephen Baldwin's dad - a source's source if ever there was one; some French dances; music from a Topic record and from a mentor of Jimmy Shand; and a couple of tunes by members of the band.

Where it all comes from is an interesting intellectual exercise, but the CD works just as well if you know none of that.  Altogether now: Dee-de-dum-diddle-diddle-diddle dee-dum-diddle-didlle-dum....  You know.  That one, not the other one.  Just dance.

Bob Harragan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 89 of The Living Tradition magazine.