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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Evolving Tradition 2" Mrs Casey Records MCRCD6991

It's unusual for a follow-up recording to make quite the same impact as the original but this new album does, which is especially surprising when the original was as fresh and lively as ET1. The mix of material is similar but wider ranging, and includes musicians from outside the UK. "May Blooming Field" from the excellent Cordelia's Dad; Leipzig duo Johannes and Andreas Uhlmann's "J.B.W./Sweet Jenny Pearce"; and superb Cape Breton fiddle from Richard Wood on the "Trip to the Doryman Set".

The home grown talent includes return visits from Eliza Carthy, solo on a powerful version of "10,000 Miles", and also with Kings of Calicutt, although sadly the band seems to have lost direction slightly, with style losing out to noise. Luke Daniels is back again with Ian Lowthian; Catriona MacDonald does a remarkable "Istanbul" with Norwegian Hardanger fiddler Annbjorg Lien and Swedish guitarist Roger Tallroth; more from Scandinavia is found in the fiddle-playing of Sussex-born Ben Paley on "Frisells Storpolska".

Favourite track? Well, down to a choice from three! Young Trad '95 winner Michael McGoldrick pipes like a god on "The Earle's Chair" (ably supported by Mannus Lunny and Phil Cunningham amongst others!); Robert Habron does simply amazing stuff on concertina with "Sherele" from the klezmer tradition - not to mention two astounding self-compositions - truly awesome playing; and Kate Rusby does a perfect "Annan Waters", smooth, sensual, luxurious, and her voice gets better every time I hear her.

Mel Howley

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This album was reviewed in Issue 18 of The Living Tradition magazine.