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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Between the Tay and the Forth"
The New Makars Trust NMT03

Readers of this magazine acquaint with days lang syne might remember John Watt telling us how "Fife's Got Everything". Well, as if further proof were needed, here's a collection of 21 new songs setting out to glorify the Kingdom.

The New Makars Trust was set up to support the development and performance of songs that reflect the past and present life of communities in Scotland and has already issued a double CD of new songs by Fife children. These were written in association with a hit squad of songwriters who visited schools, homes and day centres. Now the hit squad hits back.

With some of the songs contributed by the writers and others written specially for the project, there's a fine representation of recording newcomers as well as established artists such as Rab Noakes, John Watt, Robin Laing, Gill Bowman, Nancy Nicolson, Shanks and Russell, Bruce Davies and Matt Armour.

From the opening description of Buffalo Bill's visit to Dunfermline in 1904 (yes, it's true: John Watt's father saw him!), the listener is taken on a tour of Fife past and present through songs of coal and fishing, dancing and day-trips to Edinburgh.

The appeal of this album should stretch far beyond the limits of the Beggar's Mantle and serve as a role model to other geographical regions. The songs are poignant and humorous, rousing and reflective and celebrate the life and times of this proud, determined and forward looking part of Scotland.

Alan McIntosh Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 39 of The Living Tradition magazine.