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Cathie Ryan - "Somewhere Along the Road" - Shanachie 78047

A top notch collection of songs from the lead singer of Cherish the Ladies, which seems to meet every requirement from every side of the folk spectrum: Thoughtful songs which, even when they are not traditiona, l still sound as though they are:Tasteful accompaniment; but also a cross-over appeal and lack of quirks or folkisms which could see it become a favourite of those who have no knowledge of folk music.

Listening to this album blind gave the impression of a set of purely traditional songs by a Scottish singer. That suggests that the Detroit-born Ryan has imposed her own distinctive style on a wide series of songs - many her own compositions - with a little help from the pens of Rick Kemp and Luka Bloom.

The arrangements are masterminded by John McCusker, with peripheral arrangements by the Rusby gang, so we in the folk world ought to expect quality. On top of that all the tracks could easily take a place on mainstream shows on Radio Two, without any compromise having been made in quality.

There are a couple of Gaelic songs which could easily be Capercaillie. I particularly liked the self composition 'In My Tribe', which lyrically deals with the American landscape and things Red Indian.'Cailin Deas Cruite Na Mbo', which is in English, is a fine lyrical folk song, while 'Grace O'Malley' is more jolly. Eleven tracks and 45 minutes of music.File under:Wonderful.

Bob Harragan

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This album was reviewed in Issue 46 of The Living Tradition magazine.