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THE SANDS FAMILY - "Collection" - Spring CDSP 1030

If you have never heard a Sands Family recording before, perhaps, that is a reflection of the "relaxed" approach to promotions by Spring Records. Lord Lucan probably has a better publicity machine working for him!

This relaxed attitude is all part of the charm of the Sands Family from Rostrevor in Northern Ireland who have made very many friends in the folk world.

This collection spans twenty years of recording and shows the strong traditional roots in their songwriting. Seven out of the generous seventeen tracks are traditional. The others range from "There Were Roses" by Tommy Sands, a song recorded by many others to Colm's humorous "Lookin for the Loan of a Spade".

Sands songs have been recorded by the likes of Dick Gaughan, "Your Daughters and Your Sons", through to June Tabor and Maddy Prior "Almost Every Circumstance". This recording will give you a glimpse of the range of powerful songs written by Colm and Tommy. Some of the tracks show their age, "Twa Corbies" for instance is given a big production, but over all the recording is a pleasure to listen to. You will find yourself smiling a lot.

The Sands themselves play a vast range of instruments, they also rope in supporting musicians including Donal Lunny, Arty McGlynn, Nollaig Casey and Kathleen McPeake. A compilation drawn from the large recorded output from one of Ireland's most significant groups promises to be good. The Collections lives up to its expectations.

The Sands deserve to be folk "superstars" but I suppose people will always need to seek them out. This album is a good introduction to their work. Persevere to get it and don't take manana for an answer.

John Muirhead

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This album was reviewed in Issue 4 of The Living Tradition magazine.