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THE McCALMANS - "Festival Lights" - Greentrax CDTRAX097

Each summer The McCalmans undertake a lengthy Highlands and Islands Tour of Scotland, playing something like thirty venues over a period of as many days. After this relaxing little holiday, with batteries recharged, they descend on their home town for a series of concerts at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe.

It's generally accepted that if you want to see and hear The Merry Macs at their best, then see them "live", and this album allows the listener to drop in to these concerts.

They're in fine voice, as usual, and they've chosen a fine mix of songs, with contributions from Tommy Sands, Leon Rosselson, Ian Walker, Billy Stewart, Judy Small and Jez Lowe and two of Nick Keir's best are included - the title track and Far Down The Line.

If you haven't experienced The McCalmans "live", then Welcome to Earth; How Was the Moon? If you have, you'll know what to expect and - either way - you won't be disappointed.

They are total professionals but still amateur (in the true sense of the word) enough to appreciate the contribution of a good audience.

I had the pleasure of compering a concert of theirs last August when after two encores the audience refused to leave the hall until the guys came out for one more, which turned out to be more than one more. Offstage, the supposedly hard-bitten, seen-it-all, professionals were visibly moved by the reaction.

This is a fine album and the Greentrax production is excellent as ever, with the words to all the songs printed in the liner notes.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 15 of The Living Tradition magazine.