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VARIOUS ARTISTS "Enlightenment Music played on the
Shepherd Scottish Smallpipe" R.T. Shepherd & Son Recordings RTSCD001

If the title doesn't give it away, the front cover certainly does - simply a picture of a set of Shepherd smallpipes - this CD is really about promoting the manufacturer's product. While it is normally the musician who takes prominence, here the instrument is put to the forefront and it stacks up well. A mouthblown smallpipe in 'upper D', it has a lovely tone which as this CD demonstrates is equally at home on tunes as diverse as "The Panda", "She moved Thro the Fair", and Terry Tully's cracking "The Ass in the Graveyard".

But the pipe isn't playing itself. Pipe Major David Barnes does the honours with some delightfully expressive playing. He gets occasional help from Alison Kinnaird on Harp and Bobby Abbott on electric accordion as well as accompanying himself on keyboards. David also wrote a number of the tunes which fit snugly with the more established ones. Overall the CD has a very listenable, relaxed feel to it, with well put together sets (we will forgive the inclusion of "Scotland the Brave" on the grounds that they are trying to prove all levels of player can play the smallpipes). In promoting their product R.T. Shepherd have produced a CD full of good tunes, delightfully played on a cracking little instrument. Even if you have no intention of taking up the smallpipes this still makes for a good fifty minutes entertainment.

If you have difficulty getting the CD it can be ordered from R.T. Shepherd & Son, 164 Jamphlars Road, Cardenden, Fife KY5 OND, Scotland. Tel: 01592-720130

Chris MacKenzie

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