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JURA CEILIDH BAND KRL CDLDL1240

The band comprises the duo of Archie McAllister (arguably the Scottish Folk Scene's most exciting live fiddler), and Ross Kennedy banjo, guitar and vocals, (ex- Cruachan, Tannahills and Iron Horse), in partnership with Davie MacDonald, accordion and Charlie Harrigan guitar and vocals.

The album starts with a set of reels which mix the less familiar tunes "Lady Anne Montgomery, Luggin' the Box, and The Barrowburn" with session favourite "Andy Renwick's Ferret". This pattern of mixing tunes old and new to produce unusual sets is used to good effect, producing an album that will give as much pleasure to listeners as to dancers.

The first four tracks are taken at fairly strict tempo, with individual flair taking second place to a tight unified sound. The band set out their ceilidh credentials with these tracks, and show just how tight they can play.

It is however with their version of Geordie McIntyre's "Writing on the Wall" that this album really takes off. Charlie Harrigan always has a good ear for a rare song, and that ear hasn't let him down this time. Good writing, performed with depth and vitality, as finally individual interpretation is allowed to surface.

After this Archie throws off all restraint, and leads the set of reels, "Miss Thompson's, Cairngorm Brooch and John McNeil's", with inspired readings of the tunes. This track is a tour de force and performed with all the panache we have come to expect from Archie and Ross.

From here on in the dancers follow the musicians, and not the converse, which is as it should be. Archie's fiddle and Ross' banjo weave the magic they are so capable of, and are followed at every beat by Davie and Charlie.

Mention must also go to Paul Fitzpatrick for providing tasteful bodhran to give a lift at just the right place. Ingrid Henderson (keyboards) and Chris McGuire, (bones) also provide fine contributions.

This CD is a welcome addition for fans of these musicians, with something to offer both dancer and listener.

John McCreadie

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This album was reviewed in Issue 7 of The Living Tradition magazine.