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PHIL BROWN "Whistling for the Moon" Folksound FSCD34

"Whistling for the Moon" is devoted to tin whistle music. You might expect it to consist of jigs and reels played at breakneck speed - well, this album is not like that. Whilst many tin whistle players simply want to show off their dexterity, Phil Brown sets out to provide a showpiece for the instrument.

There is certainly an Irish influence in the tunes he has selected. "Women of Ireland" is an atmospheric air with swirling synthesiser from Chris Harvey. It is followed by "Old Man Quinn" and a lively "Alexander's Hornpipe", perhaps the most traditional track with conventional guitar, bass and accordion accompaniment.

But there is another side of Phil Brown. As a graduate of the National Youth Brass Band, he is just as much at home on the cornet, and he has the desire to bring brass and tin whistle together. "The Lonesome Boatman" starts with solo whistle swooping and echoing before the entry of keyboards and then brass in the background. In "Danny Boy", the whistle slides from note to note whilst a brass ensemble provides the harmonies - a welcome variation on the usual performance. "Dark Island", another slow piece, displays the low whistle to good effect over a rolling piano, with additional synthesiser effects and percussion, ending with the crash of waves.

The CD finished with a jaunty composition of Phil's own, one a little reminiscent of "Swinging Safari" by Bert Kampfert! Perhaps the CD would have offered more variety with one or two more faster pieces. Phil's music proves original without entering into more challenging fields. The result is a reflective album of distinctive and rewarding music.

Henry Peacock

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This album was reviewed in Issue 21 of The Living Tradition magazine.