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Sleeve not available
THE HOUSE BAND "Rockall" Green Linnet GLCD 1174

This is seriously energetic Celtic music, played by four excellent musicians who have a very clear picture of the sound they are trying to obtain, and know exactly how to get it. They have worked as a group long enough for the arrangements to be fluent and appropriate, the balance of the various instruments is just right, and nothing is lost in the detail of the presentation.

In addition to these superlatives, the tunes retain enough of their origins, Breton, Irish Quebec or whatever, that at no point is the dreaded "mid-Atlantic Celtic mush" in evidence. Each is treated appropriately and sympathetically, a feat which many aspiring Celtic musicians could usefully emulate. From the opening set of reels (Golden Grove / The Hop Down / An Occasional Flutter - my favourite set) to the final bagad march the quality remains consistently high. The instrumentals are interspersed with four songs, mostly of English extraction, and the vocals are by Ged and Roger, but the sleeve gives no indication of who is singing which, unfortunately.

I have said elsewhere that no CD is ever perfect, but this comes pretty close. I found only one track not to my taste, the song "Shiver me Timbers", and only because it didn't seem to fit with the style of the rest of the CD. Others may well see it differently.

If you have heard the House Band before, buy this, you'll love it. If you haven't, buy it because you are missing something of very high quality. Play it loudly, it goes well that way, and anyway, the neighbours may buy it too when they've heard it through your wall.

Julia Say

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This album was reviewed in Issue 19 of The Living Tradition magazine.