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NOEL SHINE & MARY GREENE "The Land You Love The Best" SHINCD001

This collection of songs and tunes is worth hiking up the volume on the music system for - particularly the Uilleann Pipes on track 3 (The Boys of Blue Hill & the High Level, which I used to know as the High Level Hornpipe as a youth). Even the more delicate tunes deserve a bit of volume in order to appreciate the full instrumental backing and trickery dickery.

On at least three tracks, Mary Greene sounds more like Emmylou Harris than Emmylou Harris seems to these days. She certainly has a strong and confident delivery - and appears to have youth on her side into the bargain - I reckon she'll be around for a while. Don't let me take anything away from Noel Shine - this album is a true partnership (even down to the co-production credits) and he is a very accomplished multi-instrumentalist, it is the rock solid delivery of Mary's vocals which lift this CD into a premier division as far as I am concerned.

With one foot firmly rooted in Nashville and the other somewhere between County Clare and Cork City this has to be an album of contrasts but not a clash to be detected anywhere. This is a pair of true professionals with a particular chemistry - definitely worth the investment.

However, I suspect that you may have to catch this pair in concert in order to buy your own copy of the album - in the absence of a record label or CD number your local retailer may have difficulty obtaining it. You could try ringing the enquiry number quoted on the box, that is 021-963224. My guess is that it is a Cork, Ireland Number (though that isn't obvious - the CD was manufactured in the USA).

Grem Devlin

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This album was reviewed in Issue 13 of The Living Tradition magazine.