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IAN F. BENZIE "So Far" Lochshore CDLDL 1228

Three consecutively-numbered new releases on the Lochshore label drifted in with the tide, so here's a collective look at them.

Ian F. Benzie is better known as lead vocalist with Old Blind Dogs and "So Far" is an Influences album celebrating his 27 years in the music business.

Despite the length of time, it's his debut solo recording and the tracks range from the strictly trad "Laird o' Drum and Butcher's Boy" (called Johnson here), a ballad called "The Braes o' Gight Which" sounds trad but is a Benzie composition, and songs from such diverse sources as Tom Paxton, Joan Baez, Alex Campbell, Robert Burns and Donovan; on second thoughts, they're not really so diverse - they're all experts in the art of using song to tell a story.

A vocal influence (uncredited) may well have been Archie Fisher for on some of the tracks there is an uncanny likeness and overall this is a very classy album.

It's mostly guitar-only backing with occasional help from members of Old Blind Dogs and Iron Horse, and some nice vocals from Clare Harper.

The sleeve notes are good and also contain the words of the songs, which makes me wonder if perhaps Lochshore operate a 2-tier policy like the Post Office, because when it comes to packaging, the following 2 albums are definitely second-class productions.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 13 of The Living Tradition magazine.