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SUSIE ALLAN "Tipsy Courting" ARDO109

Susie Allan has a delightful voice which she uses in an admirably simple way, giving out with clarity, letting the words do their work. It's a lighter voice than some other Scottish women singers, not that this is a drawback, it gives a fresh sound to some well-known songs. For instance, we are used to Sheila Stewart's forceful attack on "Mill O' Tifty's Annie". Susie's uses a softer approach, with a confidential tone, but loses none of the essential story. Likewise her happy, cheeky, approach carries "Macfarlane O' The Sprots O' Burniboosie" along splendidly.

The album ends with the lovely "Reres Hill", locale for the "Tipsy Courting" of the album title. In this case her relaxed sound matches the mood of fond memory completely. Jim Malcolm, Nick Keir, and Mairi Campbell add instrumental and vocal backing. Ian McCalman's arrangements are smooth but unobtrusive.

Six years ago Susie Allan won the Bothy Ballad competition at the Auchtermuchty festival, the first woman to do so. How come it's taken that long to get her on record?

Roy Harris

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This album was reviewed in Issue 33 of The Living Tradition magazine.