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THE McCALMANS - "High Ground" - Greentrax Recordings CDTRAX 138

So just what can you say about a new McCalmans album? Well, let me skip the usual platitudes and imagine that High Ground is their first. With me? Right: Introducing The McCalmans.

There are three of them, they're based in Scotland's capital city of Edinburgh and all of them sing. Between them they play guitar, whistle, mandolin, percussion, keyboards, moothie and bass and they've managed to talk a few of their friends into taking a chance and contributing to the backings. There's somebody called Allan Taylor on guitar, a harpist called Patsy Seddon and a Wendy Weatherby on cello, all of whose reputations, thankfully, remain intact.

The choice of songs is eclectic. Humour is Big with Cancel Marie's Wedding (absentee landlords beware); Cholesterol (one of the bairns of Adam) and They Sent a Wumman (sexist stereotyping). There are audience rousers like Lochs of the Tay and Take Her in Your Arms as well as self-written material like White Horses. And to show that the hours of study with Bert Weedon's Play in a Day were successful there's a couple of instrumentals.

They've done their homework, too. They haven't overstretched themselves by aiming for the lucrative Car CD Compilation trade but have sniffed out that niche in the market between the Andrews Sisters and the Singing Kettle and resolutely gone for it.

The makings are there, lads. This'll do nicely. Best of luck in the business.

Alan Brown

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