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THE McCALMANS - "Honest Poverty" - Greentrax CDTRAX 067

The McCalmans must have done more live gigs than any group in Scotland and live performance is where they thrive. Humour is all important to their presentation and their songs tend to be given a familiar 'McCalmans' treatment.

This album will be snapped up by the many McCalmans fans and by audiences at the end of an enjoyable evening but I'm not sure how much more it offers to their quite extensive range of recordings. What it does is introduce a greater content of new songs, including two each by Ian McCalman and Nick Keir and it will be interesting to see if these are taken up by others, always a sign of good song.

Michael Marra's song, 'Hermless' closes the album but I don't think this works as well as it would live, maybe I just like the original version too much.

As I listened more times to the album, I got a greater appreciation of its variety and Ian's 'War Outside' was growing on me. I'd like now to see the group live, performing this material which brings me back to the start of this review, I think the link to live performance is the critical element of the McCalmans appeal. If you see them you won't need me to suggest you buy the album.

John Muirhead

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This album was reviewed in Issue 2 of The Living Tradition magazine.