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Benachally Ceilidh Band - Happy Feet
THE BENACHALLY CEILIDH BAND - "Happy Feet" - Smiddymade SMD610

I thought the Editor was trying to drop me a none-too-subtle hint with this CD, because when you take it out of its box, there is, in large yellow letters on a red background the statement "warning - this recording includes banjo"! Undaunted by this slight to the instrument, I listened to it anyway and am pleased to report that the warning can be safely disregarded.

The Blairgowrie-based band comprise Jim Leighton, accordion and piano, Pete Clark, fiddle, Martin MacLeod, fiddle, Martin Hadden, guitar and bass, Jake Donnelly, banjo, mandolin and vocals and Martin Dibbs, drums and between them they have notched up experience with the likes of Capercaillie, An Teallach, Smeddum, Heritage, Loose Moose, Silly Wizard and the Dougie MacLean Band, so there are no doubts about their talents.

Here they combine over an hour's worth of music to dance to, with all the sets helpfully identified by the name of the dance, with tunes for all of the ceilidh favourites, played sensitively, yet with drive where appropriate. The instruments all blend well together to give a crisp, tight and clear sound with the twin fiddles in particular in the driving seat.

All in all, a fine performance, even if the choice of song for the last dance might take traditionalists by surprise. What is it? Buy the CD and find out!

Gordon Potter

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This album was reviewed in Issue 27 of The Living Tradition magazine.