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ROBIN GARSIDE - The Ragman's Trumpet GETCD2

The name Robin Garside was familiar to me although I have never heard him. I am presuming he is an established artist yet not one who is working full time and touring nationally, which is a pity because from the evidence of this C.D. a lot of people are missing a talented performer.

In vocal style I am reminded of Dave Burland, in other ways I am reminded of Brian McNeill, not so closely in style but in talent, as Robin plays all the instruments on the album including guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and bass, arranges them into a 'band' sound and also writes songs and tunes!

The album is a good mixture of songs and tunes and if this is representative of his live set, he should be a popular performer. I preferred his songs to his tune sets where if anything, I felt he layered too many sounds together, although one of the highlights of the album for me, was a beautiful version of 'Sean O Dhubir with fiddle and harmony fiddle accompanied by guitar.

Several of the songs are traditional, the album starting with a good version of 'The Rout of the Blues', and including a song I expected not to like, 'Bonny Glenshee', where I anticipated an English version of a popular Scottish song not to work, only to find that it passed with flying colours.

Contemporary songs included a fresh sounding version of Dave Goulder's 'January Man' and of Robin's own songs, 'Vulcan Road' stood out. There was an immediate feel to this song as if you had always known it. With a good tune and strong refrain it shows that simplicity is best. I would imagine this song to be widely sung by others.

Robin is from Yorkshire where I understand he is quite involved in encouraging fiddle playing in sessions. On the strength of this album he is worth seeking out.

John Muirhead

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This album was reviewed in Issue 2 of The Living Tradition magazine.