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ANN GREY "A Twist In The Tale" Lismor LCOM5264

Piping CDs with a March, Strathspey and Reel, a Piobaireachd (even just the ground) and a 6/8 march (you remember them - catchy tunes you used to whistle) are as rare these days as an honest politician. So Canadian Ann Grey's CD 'A twist In the Tale' comes as a refreshing change from relentless hornpipes and jigs. Ann plays a well chosen mix of time signatures on mainly the great Highland Bagpipe with shuttle pipes and 'D' smallpipes providing the tonal colour.

There are a stack of well known tunes such as 'Hector The Hero' (on 'D' pipes), John McColl's March To Kilbowie Cottage and, of course, the ubiquitous 'Kenny Gillies of Portnalong'. Ann also includes ten of her own compositions which sit comfortably with the better known material.

The piping is first class and the arrangements sparse and sympathetic although the rippling waves on 'The Seven Rebels' set are completely kitsch and unnecessary. An altogether better arrangement is the 'A Twist In The Tale' where Ann and percussionist Robin Tuft exchange rhythms cleverly.

This is a delightful CD. Ann's playing is full of expression and she doesn't rely on blistering speed to get her through, although she is no slouch when she lets rip. Cracking piping, solid arrangements and a sackfull of good tunes make this a very listenable CD.

Chris MacKenzie

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