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ROBIN LAING - "The Angels Share" - Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 137

Every once in a while a record comes along that has a theme so simple and effective that you wonder why it hasn't been done before. Here is a perfect example of what I mean. Robin Laing has made a record of songs about whisky, Scotch for the most part with a slight dash of Irish. Yes I am aware of The Tale of Ale an excellent record but that is about beer and I love whisky.

The record has a good variety of songs ranging from the traditional: "Piper MacNeil", "Parish of Dunkeld" and "Whisky You're the Devil"; through music hall: "Twelve and a Tanner a Bottle" and "A Wee Doch and Doris"; to recently composed songs: "More than Just a Dram", "Our Glens and A Bottle o' the Best"; all sung with a fine tuneful voice.

Robin Laing is always pleasant listening handling all songs with ease, his records receive plenty of play in the Caffrey household. So what about a CD of whisky songs surely this could be quite boring to the beer drinkers or, dare I say, teetotalers? Well no, this record is full of good humour and a variety of styles, enough to please all who enjoy folk song. Listen to "Tall Tale" or the unlikely rhymes and joyful disrespect of "Our Glens", Robert Burns of course makes an appearance in "Willie Brewed a Peck o' Malt" and "John Barleycorn" (at last we recognise that the song celebrates whisky as well as beer). If this was not enough the record opens with a beautiful song written by Robin Laing himself "More Than Just A Dram", a song that is likely to be used by many another singer, including myself.

The accompaniment is excellent adding to the overall enjoyment. The quality of the recording is up to the standard we have come to expect from Greentrax. I am now going to pour myself a malt and settle down to another listen to "The Angel's Share". Slainte mhath.

Nick Caffrey

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.