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GORDON TYRRALL - The Bridge Flows PM001

With so many recordings to listen to, I was beginning to fear that I would lose the excitement I got from buying a new album, then this recording from Gordon Tyrrall came along. Subtitled 'Songs and instrumentals, mainly traditional, on acoustic guitar, flute, piccolo and tin whistle', that tells you what the content is, but it doesn't tell you what a pleasure the album is. I played it over and over again at first and still listen to it regularly.

There are several highlights, the peak for me being Gordon's setting of a John Clare poem. This immediately reminded me of a Burns song and by putting a great melody to good words, Gordon has come up with a song which I am sure will be picked up by many singers.

Gordon's guitar playing is superb. He plays several sets of tunes with such apparent ease that you, the listener, are able to relax. I often feel that the guitar is not really the instrument to play jigs and reels. Just to prove me wrong, on one track Gordon makes a real classy job of a slow air and two jigs with guitar as the lead instrument. Superb.

Another highlight for me is 'The Plains of Waterloo'. A song recorded many times but given a new lease of life with just voice and a complex but totally sympathetic guitar accompaniment. (I happened to meet Edith Fowke, who collected the song, some weeks later. She was over on a visit from Canada and I made a point of telling her that 'her song' was still giving so much pleasure).

I previously have only known Gordon from his work with the group 'Dab Hand', and this album was a revelation for me. I could write a lot more about the album, I haven't even mentioned the quality flute playing, but I think I have enthused enough.

I generally preferred the slower songs with more melodic accompaniment which suited Gordon's voice. There is a lot of variety in the album. Do yourself a favour and listen to this one, I can't recommend it highly enough. This isn't on a major label so distribution may be patchy, I hope not.

Pete Heywood

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This album was reviewed in Issue 2 of The Living Tradition magazine.