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"Raise your head" COMPASS RECORDS 742902

One of the most successful and popular bands of the Nineties this a welcome retrospective look at the two previous line ups. There is nothing here for those of us who have got their CD's, even though "never- before- released recordings" are promised. The two changes in personnel were that Karen Tweed replaced the amazing Sally Barker - something I'm sure you were aware of. It's a good time to release this as Karen has since been replaced by fiddler and singer Elidth Shaw.

All the favourites are here -- " We built fires", "Honesty" and the simply stunning version of Pete Morton's "Another Train" from the Sally Barker era, whilst "Maid of Llanwellyn" and "Ma Plaid" stand out from the time Kate was in the band.

The tune sets are well represented with Sarah Allen's amazing "In Another Life" and "Mountaineer's Set" outstanding. What Patsy and Mary can achieve with their harps is just pure class, and as I play this CD it is that word that I'm reminded of over and over again - class. Don't let anyone try to convince you that the music we all enjoy is not equal (or better) than the so called mainstream types-- just play this.

Of course there are omissions ( I would have thought "Farmboy" and "Two fifty to Vigo" would have been there, but you can't please everyone and there's enough for everyone. So if you've worn out "Chantoozies" or you want one for the car, then this is a must. If you haven't any Poozie music (where have you been?) then I suggest you start with "Raise your Head" before dashing out to try to get the full albums.

Dave Beeby

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This album was reviewed in Issue 41 of The Living Tradition magazine.