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TAMALIN "Rhythm & Rhyme" Grapevine GRACD227

The band is based around the McSherry family, with Tina, John, Joanne, and Paul joining with Kevin Dorris, to give a band with a high proportion of self-penned material which is blended with traditional and contemporary songs and tunes, presented in the increasingly familiar format of Irish folk-rock. Tina, on vocals, fronts the band, with a voice redolent of Suzanne Vega, and this is underpinned by solid, effective accompaniment on fiddle, guitar, bouzouki, pipes and low whistle - the last two care of John McSherry. The pipes on 'Gort Na Sailean' - a Yeats poem set to the tune of 'Down By The Sally Gardens' - are absolutely superb. McSherry is good, very good!

In fact the entire band is good, especially on the traditional tunes, where they play with style and sensitivity, and arevery together. Some of the content treads a fine line, but it manages to keep just on the right side of 'pretty', possibly helped by the involvement of Donal Lunny, who both guests on, and mixes, a couple of tracks, continuing his admirable commitment to young Irish bands which are showing promise. And Tamalin certainly show promise, lots and lots of it! There have clever and interesting arrangements, and interpretations, of familiar songs, with a version of 'Crazyman Michael' which works well; as does 'Poor Tom', the Page and Plant (Led Zep) song, although Tina's vocals lack some of the rawness to be found in the original version!

Overall an interesting and impressive debut recording from a band with promise, potential, and a boatload of talent!

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 23 of The Living Tradition magazine.