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ALEX FRANCIS MacKAY - "A Lifelong Home" - GREENTRAX CDTRAX149

It is of great credit to Greentrax Records and similar labels that recordings like "A Lifelong Home" are still being issued. Not that there is anything wrong with this CD, far from it, but seventy-five minutes of field recordings of old style Scottish fiddle music may, I suspect, have limited popularity and therefore commercial appeal. Fourteen tracks comprised of seventy-six tunes require a fair amount of stamina from the listener, and from Alex Francis himself, being in some cases over eight minutes long.

However, if you have an appreciation of authentic traditional music and the required ability to "Stick with it" you will gain reward and much enjoyment from the real "Old Word" feel of "A Lifelong Home".

Alex Francis MacKay was born in Glendale, Cape Breton Island in 1922, the youngest of a family of ten. The MacKay farm was, and still is, a meeting place for local and passing musicians from whom Alex Francis acquired much of his repertoire of fiddle and pipe tunes. His style is all his own.

Not for the casual listener perhaps, but tremendous music none the less. Everyone connected with this CD, especially Gordon MacLean for appropriate piano accompaniment; Paul MacDonald and Paul Cranford who made the original recordings; Paul MacDonald who also wrote and compiled the full and interesting notes and of course Alex Francis himself, are to be congratulated.

Danny Saunders

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This album was reviewed in Issue 25 of The Living Tradition magazine.