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The Caledonian Companion Cilla Fisher & Artie Trezise - Cilla & Artie
VARIOUS ARTISTS - "The Caledonian Companion" Greentrax CDTRAX9051
CILLA FISHER & ARTIE TREZISE - "Cilla & Artie" Greentrax CDTRAX9050

Back in the 1970s Topic Records was the premier "Folk Music" record label. Indeed their back catologue serves as an invaluable archive of the work of some of the finest players and singers. Edinburgh based Greentracks Recordings have secured under licence from Topic, a number of long deleted recordings by Scottish artists which will be released in their "Classics from Scotland" series.

"The Caledonian Companion", was a collection of material recorded by Tony Engle, plus some material originally recorded for the School of Scottish Studies by Hugh MacDonald. The soloists are, Alex Green on whistle, Charlie Bremner on fiddle, John Grant also on fiddle and Willie Fraser on mouth organ and diddling. Known well enough in the Aberdeen and Banffshire areas, they came to be appreciated by a much wider audience through playing at many TMSA festivals.

The material is all Scottish with jigs, reels, strathspeys and pipe-marches well to the fore. The tunes are played in a fairly straight and disciplined manner but not without that flourish and flair that marks out performers who enjoy entertaining their audience.

Cilla Fisher and Artie Trezise are now-a-days better known, along with Garry Coupland and Jane Trezise, for their "Singing Kettle" series of shows. During the Seventies they released several LPs and were popular guests around the clubs and festivals. "Cilla & Artie" was in fact, "The Melody Maker Folk Album of the Year - 1979". That same year Melody Maker chose "Fear of Music" by Talking Heads as popular music album of the year.

Joining Cilla and Artie is an international collection of "session" musicians including Alistair Anderson, Johny & Phil Cunningham, Rick Lee, Brian McNeill and Bob Zentz. The songs are mostly from the tradition with, "Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk" and "The Gypsy Laddies" but also include a grand version of Stan Rodgers' "The Jeanie C" and the wildest ever arrangement of Ewan MacColl's "Fisher Lassies".

There is much more to look forward to in this "Classics from Scotland" series, in particular albums from Willie Scott and Bell Stewart.

Peter Fairbairn

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This album was reviewed in Issue 28 of The Living Tradition magazine.